Brick Force Closed Beta Impressions
By Bryan King, OnRPG Journalist
Taking a game like Brick Force at face value would be a farce. As impeccable as that may sound, Brick Force is a straight up, no-gimmick construction shooter with ups and downs in terms of content. Most people choose to draw upon the voxel-esque graphic design and compare it to Minecraft, but if that’s all you’re expecting of the game as it stands, you may be in for a surprise.
Brick Force’s graphic style can go one of two ways for a gamer, “creative”, or “lackluster”. Because of the customization ability of maps and the capability of the game’s native source of power, Unity Engine, the game doesn’t seem to place most emphasis on graphics. The usage of “preset” blocks doesn’t allow for the most graphic capability. However, for what the game intends to do, which is provide a PC client, PC browser, and cell phone platform, the design isn’t too shabby. In a market of free to play shooters that generally strives for a realistic and gritty art style, BF stands out with a lighthearted, colorful palette.
The shooting gameplay in Brick Force may seem to be a core “shining” feature to the game, but you may find it to be contrary. I, like many others, were under the impression that game building and action worked hand in hand, this is not the case. Map Building/Construction and action work in two different “channels”, one being a “Battle” channel, and one being a “Map Editing” channel. Players who build maps can register their maps (price depending on number of blocks used) and share and utilize them with the community. A negative to the structure of both of these servers is that they are dependent upon a Peer 2 Peer connection, utilizing outdated technology to run the technology aspect.
This becomes clear in the game’s “Battle Mode.” A certain delay is apparent when killing enemies or firing a weapon. The complaints of many other players confirmed this. The game utilizes the traditional “Shop” system, where players can buy game weapons, accessories, and special bricks using in-game currency or (in the future) real life cash on a rental basis. Later on, the game will have characters available for purchase. None of the weapons that are in the game so far feel so much overpowered as they do annoying. The usage of some weapons is completely dependent upon the map you’re playing on. I encountered many “sniper-friendly” maps, as well as “grenade and SMG” maps. The flexibility of said maps ends up being a pro and con, as it can be annoying to have to switch weapons from the main menu before entering the map again.
Weapons in Brick Force have separate weights and recoil rates. With weapons like the sniper rifle, movement is slower as a sacrifice to burst weapon damage and range. Either way, the movement can feel a little slow on large maps where speed matters (“Blast” mode, a la Counterstrike’s bomb defuse mode). This is resolved by switching to a small weapon like a pistol or wrench. In terms of combat, there really isn’t much special to Brick Force, and veteran FPS gamers will not be impressed with the shooting game by itself.
Where Brick Force most succeeds is in its “Construction” mode. Construction mode allows a large amount of players to utilize a preset array of special and normal bricks to create a battle scenario, allowing maps to be created up to 100 meters high. This allows players to flex their creative muscles to make their own refreshing and fun battle scenarios. Personally, I can see the appeal of this feature and why players could keep using Brick Force as their go to casual game. I saw some players who never touched combat mode, but just kept creating maps with their friends and posing a ton of “what if” questions.
Brick Force’s construction mode sets a precedent for many other developers to follow with their construction mode – giving players the tools to shape the combat that they will be involved in with a quick, simple, easy-to-use package is impressive. Using this mode as a selling point has drawn many players to the community, and I don’t see that trend ending anytime soon.
The one flaw I see in this system is possible abuse, like players creating “easy farming” maps to gain easy currency by creating enclosed maps where kills are easily earned. I noticed something like this in the form of a “box” map, but the players grew tired and joined other servers.
In conclusion, Brick Force’s closed beta seems to be a diamond in the rough. With many exceptional characteristics such as its uniquely crafted art design and construction mode, it’s a shame to see that the game’s combat system and mechanics can be a nuisance. I expect Infernum and EXE-Games to address these issues and help mold the game into what it’s supposed to be – a socially driven game that reaches beyond the usual shooter audience.