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Block Fortress Review
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Block Fortress, a Minecraft/tower defense/first-person shooter mash-up from Foursaken Media, is now available from the app store. Building on the more intriguing aspects of their recent hit Heroes and Castles, Foursaken continues to amaze and excite us with these fantastically deep mobile games.

Block Fortress Pros:

  • Awesome Minecraft-style aesthetic
  • Fun sound effects that add realistic vibe
  • Controls are pretty easy to get a handle on
  • Large variety of purchasable/upgradeable walls, defenses, and equipment; fun crafting system
  • Multiple game modes to enjoy
  • Ability to save and replay to tweak structures
  • GameCenter achievement system

Block Fortress Cons:

  • FPS attack controls are a little twitchy; button could be placed better/more responsive
  • Can be a bit overwhelming

Like Heroes and Castles, Block Fortress tasks you with protecting your barracks from a variety of spawning enemies that come at you from multiple directions. You can build up a number of different defenses, as well as go first-person and handle your own business. Weapons and defensive materials are purchasable and upgradeable, and there are a ton of options to explore. And to top it all off, everything conforms to a Minecraft-like visual style. Three game modes give you the freedom to play in multiple ways. Survival mode alternates between building phases where you can use collected resources to fortify your defenses and attack phases that send new waves of enemies at you. Quick Start mode gives you a single initial build phase to outfit your character and set up your base defense before sending an endless stream of enemies at you. Sandbox mode allows you to do pretty much whatever you want, giving you unlimited resources to build whatever you want and start/stop attacks at will.

The game provides 32 different wall types, 16 different turret types, a dozen special block types, and a dozen weapons for your character to use. Each wall type is rated for price and strength, and their differing looks allow you to create some visually pleasing structures. Turrets and weapons similarly vary in look and strength, and most are locked until you reach a specified experience level. Experience is gained as you play through the Survival and Quick Start modes, with nothing earned while messing around in the Sandbox. Six different maps are available to defend, with one of three types of colored rare minerals present in each. These minerals can be mined from the environments, and combos of the different colors are used to craft mods for walls, turrets, and weapons. Mods are a critical component to surviving the onslaught of enemies (known as Goblocks), who also come in a variety of sizes, strengths, and abilities. Goblocks do their best to break down your defensive walls, destroy your turrets and power blocks, kill you, and destroy your barracks. Some dead Goblocks drop money, which you’ll need to run around and snag so that you can purchase additional supplies if you want to survive. The Goblock direction of attack varies from wave to wave, so you’ll need to have a flexible defensive design that can cover all sides. Turrets are limited by range and line of sight, and they also require power, so you’ll need to incorporate power blocks into your base designs, as well.

The blocky low-res look is, of course, intentional, and Minecraft fans will feel right at home. Menus retain a similar look, offering helpful info regarding all of the different items in the game. Maps span a few environment types, such as jungle, snow, and more. A day-night cycle requires you to consider incorporating lighting into your defenses or risk getting decimated in the darkness. The gaming screen contains a half-dozen buttons along the screen bottom that quickly allow you to place oft-used items, like blocks, mine shafts, power blocks, etc. Tapping a mini-map in the upper left corner will start the Attack phase, as well as orient you to the on-coming enemies. Warnings flash on screen when Goblocks are attacking your base, too. Your barracks health and personal health are indicated toward the screen bottom, giving you quick feedback to your current situation. Sound effects are great, and the air raid siren that signifies the start of an attack adds a level of tension that’s palpable. Controls use a left-corner joypad to rotate the environment or move your character. Up/down buttons in the right corner allow you to adjust your viewpoint elevation when in Build mode, while an attack button in the right corner allows you to blast Goblocks in Attack mode. Accurate aiming is a little touchy, but passable, and dead enemies explode into a satisfying pixelated cloud. There is no need to jump, as you simply keep moving toward an area of higher elevation to climb. Placing and equipping items is as easy as tapping to select and tapping to place. Swiping the screen alters your viewpoint while attacking, as seen in most FPS games.

Replay value is outstanding, as it’s completely open for you to determine how you want to play. The wealth of blocks, weapons, and play styles is fantastic, and an upcoming update should allow gamers to share their structures for others to use. Frequent save abilities allow you to go back and tweak things to your heart’s content if, and when, your defenses fail. There is a lot to delve into here, and we can see ourselves spending a great deal of time in this world for months to come. GameCenter provides nearly a dozen achievements to earn, too. A universal app for $1.99, Block Fortress is a unique and challenging 4.5-Dimple mash-up.

Block Fortress Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2013-03-12T20:15:54+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5



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