Minecraft-like FPS Brick-Force Bringing New Content This Summer
You might not have heard of Brick-Force, the free-to-play first-person shooter that takes some insipriation from Minecraft. It’s not available to just anyone to play. But it’s out there, riffing on the world-building experience that made Mojang’s game so popular, and bringing fully formed combat to bear in worlds players create.
For the unfamiliar, right now, Brick-Force consists of two major modes of play: one, in which players place various kinds of blocks (just like in Minecraft) to build maps. The amount of customization is pretty high, but Brick-Force also relies on graphical simplicity to keep the building aspects available to everyone and easy for anyone to pick up.
Equally easy to pick up are the FPS mechanics, because once a fan-made map is complete, players are free to take it online and fill it with teams of enemies to shoot. It’s not the most novel concept — obviously there have been map editors in the FPS genre before — but what makes Brick-Force so cool is that the map-building aspects can be social, and the barrier of entry is very low: just about anybody can quickly learn how to construct their own locales.
At E3 2012, I got to spend a little time with Brick-Force and see two new game modes that are coming to the game in action. Both are going to add some fundamentally different ways of playing Brick-Force when they go live, but both are pretty early in the development cycle, and aren’t likely to see the light of day for a few months at least.
The first is called “Build and Destroy” mode, and it takes the basic premise of Brick-Force and pushes it to a logical iteration. In the standard game, players are able to build maps, and then play on them, but they can’t do both of those things at the same time: the “Build” mode is separate from the “Destroy” mode. In Build and Destroy, as you might imagine, things get a little more complex.
Two teams are separated by a barrier, and both have about 3 minutes to construct a base in which to fight the enemy. The mode can support as many as eight players on a team, so the possibilities of what they can build seem pretty staggering and exciting. After the three minutes end, the barrier drops, and the two teams can take each other on, using the two structures they just worked together to create.
The second mode was something of a mix between tower defense and the popular “horde” style modes we’ve been seeing in FPS games lately. A group of up to four players takes positions around a map, using guns to shoot down streams of enemies as they truck toward a goal they’re attempting to destroy. In that way, players basically function as the towers in the tower defense scenario — they know where enemies are coming from and they know the interval between waves, and it’s their job to stop those enemies.
In the extremely early build I saw, it was pretty easy to exploit the enemies. They always took the same path and never deviated, and though they became progressively tougher and more varied over time, it was still pretty easy to take position in front of their spawn point and take them out. However, developer Infernum has plans to increase the difficulty of the mode, adding new enemies, and giving them free reign to attack the players.
Brick-Force is still technically in open beta (it’s a VIP beta, though, so you’ll need a code to get in), and it’s not precisely known exactly when the new content will hit the game — I was told maybe in June or July, but even that was tough to nail down. Still, if you’re lucky enough to have a buddy in Brick-Force who can get you in, the new modes will be an interesting change to what the game already has to offer and to the standard FPS in general. If not, sign up at brick-force.com, because more beta keys will be released sometime in the near future.