Review: Brick-Force Truly is Minecraft with Guns
I had the pleasure of playing Brick-Force over the past couple of days on the Mac platform, and I have to admit that Inferum’s claim of this game being “Minecraft with Guns” is pretty accurate. I’m not much of a crafter, but I do appreciate the creativity that games like Brick-Force can bring out in gamers. I mean just look at what has happened with the Minecraft universe? Devoted fans of the series have created full scale worlds, sometimes based on other popular franchises like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, with amazing detail. After spending time with BF I can now foresee a new community of map builders on the horizon, but this time it’ll be about making the best FPS multiplayer map rather than the most awesome recreation of another pop culture franchise. This game will appeal to both FPS fans and the creative type alike, so please continue on after the break to read our full review of EXE Games’ Brick-Force.
Brick-Force (Browser version on a MacBook Pro)
EB 7.5 out of 10 Buddhas
- Free to play
- Inspires creativity
- Decent stand alone FPS component
The Not so Awesome
- Time consuming
- Technical issue with browser version
Free to play
EXE Games decided on the free-to-play game model that many MMO-like titles are employing these days for Brick-Force, and I think it’s one of its biggest pros. You can essentially play the entire game with all of its offerings without spending a dime, and that has to be appreciated these days in a market where some games can cost thousands of dollars over their life span like WoW. If you want to spend some cash, BF will accept your money willingly through an in-game store that allows you to purchase special upgrades, costumes, and other bonuses to give you an edge over other gamers in both its map editor and FPS arenas. Although, these purchases aren’t required to enjoy the game.
Inspiring gameplay for both the creative and FPS types, and it’s FREE
The great thing about Brick-Force’s business model is that you never really have to spend any cash if you don’t want to. Unlike some free-to-play games, most, if not all of the paid content can be earned through hard work and skill. In addition to Tokens, which require real world money, you also have in-game currency that can be spent on custom unlocks. This means if you put in the time you can earn better gear without ever having to tap your bank account. You have to appreciate this model, and I’d wager it’s one of the reasons that this little game already has over 1,000,000 users.
Brick-Force, just like Mojang’s Minecraft, will inspire both amateur and professional game designers alike. This game essentially has two main modes: Build and Play. In the build mode you are given a Brick-Gun and a wide array of different bricks to use to create your very own multiplayer map that can be uploaded for general play if it meets the community requirements (have to use certain number of spawn points etc). The editor will be familiar to any Minecraft player albeit with a few changes specific to BF. You can build maps with up to 8 other gamers, or go at it alone as well.
My creation is far from inspired, but with enough time anyone can create amazing maps
I went solo and quickly found myself sinking hours of time into just playing around in the virtual cube laden sandbox. I was very engaged in the process even though I never really created a playable map. I was in awe of the near limitless possibilities that I had at my disposal, and this is one of the reasons I never produced a map of my own. It made me realize just how intense game design is, and I was playing with a dumbed down editor for normal humans, and not the massive engines that most developers use these days. If you have any plans for video game development then I highly suggest fine tuning your skills in Brick-Force, because it has to be one of the best free game editors to wrap your head around multiplayer gameplay design.
Decent stand alone FPS component
In addition to Brick-Force’s ability to inspire creativity in gamers, it also has a pretty solid FPS mode for fans of that genre who may not be builders like myself. The FPS mode pits you in traditional online match types such as deathmatch, and outside of the simplistic brick infused visuals, it plays like the rest of the online shooters that have saturated the market. BF may not have the tightest gunplay, but its slower pace is actually a relief for gamers looking to take a break from the twitchy multiplayer matches found in a COD title (read for gamers whose skill is waning). I couldn’t help but be transported back to the beginnings of the FPS genre while playing this mode in BF due to its simplistic gameplay and visuals, and that’s not a bad thing. It feels like DOOM or Wolfenstein set in a Minecraft inspired visual design.
Ya I’m a n00b, but notice the custom brick guys and standard multiplayer lobby
The FPS mode also offers custom load outs and costumes for your character just like the big boys do, and it also offers Tower Defense-like matches in the new PVP ‘Build and Destroy’ mode. In this mix of map creation and online multiplayer, teams are charged with building up their defense to prepare for the oncoming attack from their enemies who are also fortifying their defenses. Once the build period ends the brick guns go away and get replaced by live ammo, and then it’s on like popcorn. I found these to be the most entertaining matches that required superb teamwork. Like I said, Brick-Force’s FPS modes are just plain fun with an old school feel, so if you’ve been wanting to take a break from the CODs, and other modern war themed shooters, this game just may be the change of pace you need.
The Not so Awesome
This critique could be a result of my lack of PC gaming in general, but I found that it took a large amount of time to get acclimated with Brick-Force’s control scheme and mechanics. The game does have a tutorial, but it’s basic at best. I found myself having to dig through help and option menus to figure out which keys did what. I personally don’t enjoy using a keyboard for playing games, but that’s not a dis on Brick-Force. I just wish the game introduced the controls in a more noobish manner, so console gamers like myself didn’t have to spend 30-45 minutes just trying to learn the basics of gameplay. I’m all about putting time in to learn a new game, but I felt like I’d needed to spend an inordinate amount of time playing around with BF’s controls and ideas before I became a pro at it.
Technical issue with browser version
Again, I only tested Brick-Force using its browser version, so this issue may not exist for PC user who can download the client. If you have a Mac though the only way to play is browser style. As far as gameplay goes BF runs beautifully on my 2011 13″ MBP. I didn’t experience a single hiccup or frame rate glitch while playing, and it didn’t even cause my fans to sound like a jet liner taking off (Mac users you know what I’m talking about).
I did experience technical issues with the game’s menus though. They were all chopped off at the top and bottom clipping some of the content. This issue wasn’t bad enough to make menu navigation impossible, but it was frustrating to say the least.
Notice the clipping that take place in the browser client
I also had a myriad of issues with the options menu. For the life of me I couldn’t change my resolution settings. I’m not sure if this is locked down for the browser client, or what, but I was forced to play on a lesser resolution than I know my MBP can handle. I couldn’t even go full screen to try and fix the clipping issue. If certain options are locked for the browser version I would’ve appreciated a heads up type of warning. They could’ve popped up a message that said, “In browser mode Brick-Force can’t run full screen, etc, etc, etc” , which would have prevented me from clicking my mouse button like a mental patient running low on his meds.
The options menu curiously doesn’t allow some configurations, and no reason is given why
Finally, and this again could be my own personal issue, but some of the major keyboard commands aren’t available for Macs. I have no “Home” button, nor do I have an “Insert” button, and both of these are tied to useful commands. All of these technical issues are minor, and may not be in the client version, but I have to warn browser players that the experience may not be as polished as the developers intended.
The Final Verdict
If you have a passion for creating things and shooting stuff, then Brick-Force will be right up your alley. It has a great mix of map creation, and FPS multiplayer gameplay that will speak to gamers looking for a change of pace. I truly believe its multiplayer map building tools will be ideal for any aspiring game developer to flex their creative muscles. The browser version of the game may have some technical issues on the Mac platform, but overall Brick-Force is a unique enough experience for me to give it a recommendation. Besides, it’s FREE, so why not give it a go? I give Brick-Force an EB 7.5 out of 10 Buddhas, and suggest you give it a go today! You’ve been needing a free game to play that will challenge your inner developer…
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