Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The Blockheads, the new game from Majic Jungle Software, is something rather familiar: it’s a 2D Minecraft-esque title of exploration and crafting. It has simple graphics, with chracters featuring giant blocky heads. The goal is generally to explore, mining materials and crafting new items to make exploration more efficient and to make new materials ad infinitum.
It may be very familiar, but there’s a very simple reason why The Blockheads works so well: it's incredibly easy to play thanks to immaculate controls. Tap on a spot and the blockhead will go there if they can and interact with that tile, whether it be mining a certain material, attacking a bird, or placing an item. It’s possible to queue up multiple actions, and cancel them by tapping on that same tile. This is all powered by an extremely intelligent pathfinding system that finds the quickest and most efficient route and does what the player wants to do.
While the game is universal, and does work extremely well on the iPad, it actually works extremely well on iPhone because it can be played with one hand in portrait mode very easily. This makes it great for public transit, or just idly playing while doing something else. That the game can be essentially put on auto-pilot seems like it should be a knock on it, but it’s really just a testament to its control excellence. As well, this auto-pilot makes it possible to control multiple characters at once, which can be unlocked later on. And let’s not forget that it’s possible to play with a friend online via Game Center.
The Blockheads is free-to-play, and time crystals, which are used to speed up time-intensive tasks like crafting and even sleeping, are the monetization strategy. They’re handed out periodically throughout the game and can be mined periodically, but buying them is the easiest way to get them. There are items that require time crystals to craft, but other than that, they aren’t required.
The thing with The Blockheads is that it does require player initiative to go out and explore the world: that’s the goal, to explore with little guidance given. The player may get their own objectives, like needing to mine so much of a material to accomplish what they want to do, but the game doesn’t really specify anything to do. I usually struggle to get into games of this genre because I prefer guided experiences, but the ease of play allowed me to just get absolutely lost in the experience. Yes, there’s a lot of waiting involved, but in a way, it’s a great game to play while surfing the internet or doing something else. I love The Blockheads for much the same reason I love baseball, I suppose. I can watch baseball while doing something else, and The Blockheads is a perfect game to fill my time. Check it out.