This spring, the browser-based FPS Brick Force is heading to mobile. A blend of shooting and level development, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the viral mega-hit Minecraft.
"Minecraft was a big inspiration," Infernum community manager Matthew Rider readily admits. "But, we have a unique personality."
This is something that the more than 300,000 registered players in Brick Force's closed beta will have discovered for themselves recently.Another brick in the wall
For the uninitiated, Brick Force on the web marries a traditional first-person shooter with the Creative mode from Mojang's aforementioned build-em'-up.
You create elaborate brick-based levels, filled with ladders, turrets, and other objects, and then play classic deathmatch battles online with friends or equally matched strangers. You can also hop into other players' levels if you fancy a change of scenery.
The game's name itself not only relates to the bricklaying involved, but also to the visual style. As shown in the gallery above, Brick Force's characters are square-jawed, square-headed soldiers straight out of a kid's toy chest.
Your soldier can be designed and modified, using a similar XP system to the ones found employed in RPGs. The old skool shooting, meanwhile, is reminiscent of genre-defining games like Counter-Strike and Duke Nukem 3D.
Like Minecraft, Brick Force becomes even more addictive in the Sandbox mode. Armed with a glue gun - one of 18 weapons at your disposal - and heaps of bricks, you wander the huge, empty ground floor and shoot different blocks to create the ideal deathmatch level.
Some of the more elaborate areas we saw during our hands-on had ladders running up to the sky (almost out of view), and a huge pirate ship with cannons and passages.Sandbox on the go
One thing that may disappoint hardcore pocket gaming Minecraft fans is that Brick Force on iOS and Android will be all creation, no destruction... at least, for the time being. So, of the browser-based game's two modes, only the Sandbox mode will be present in version 1.0 of the smartphone edition.
"We want the player to create on mobile and play it in the browser," says Rider. We suspect that Infernum wants to iron out any potential issues with controls or latency before rolling out the battle modes.
The good news, though, is that Infernum is already looking to make the addictive deathmatch modes available on the mobile.
"I just spoke with [the higher ups] last night," Infernum PR manager Josephine Gehrke told us. "They really want to implement the other modes, so it is just a matter of time."Unity through war
Infernum is keeping the final mobile demo under wraps for now, but it did confirm that both the iOS and Android versions are built on the Unity engine.
This universal middleware tool makes it easier for developers to port titles to multiple devices, so Brick Force is likely to have the same look and feel on iPhone, iPad, and on Android devices as it does in browsers.
And as Minecraft - Pocket Edition gets primed for an update, we think Brick Force on mobile will offer up some much-needed competition in the create and play field when it launches later in the spring.