Minecraft has certainly had a massive influence on the gaming scene. You almost can't move nowadays for games that hurl you into a world and let you manipulate, build, and destroy as you see fit.
The Blockheads takes that simple template and presents it as a 2D platformer. Here's your flat, blocky world, it says - now carve out your own space in it.
This is a game with exploration and innovation at its core, which dares you to pack up your flickering campfire and head out to see what's over the next rise.Blocky start
To start with you don't have very much at your disposal - just your bare hands and a world that stretches out around you. You need to dig up some dirt, and then build yourself a workbench and a shelter for when night closes in.
The controls are simple enough. Tapping at a point in the world makes your little man move there, while selecting a tool and then a part of the world sets him off to dig, hack, or pick away until the resources contained within burst free.
Some of those resources can be used to build houses, while others need to be combined with other things to make tools and weapons. You can have a go at digging out stone with your fingers, but it'll make your avatar grumpy if you do it for too long.
You'll also need to keep the little fellow fed and make sure he gets a chance to rest and meditate on the comings and goings of his simple life. There are plenty of nuts and berries to nibble at, and dodos wander around the world, ripe for a stab with a flint spear.Adventures in building
Within half an hour you'll have built up a decent dwelling, digging up chunks of rock and hacking down trees to make sure you have a roof over your head when it rains. You'll probably have burnt it down once or twice too as you try to figure out the best place for the fire.
It's at this point that the wanderlust will strike. The world the game provides for you is massive, with huge mountain ranges and uncomfortably warm deserts intersected by grassy plains and forests. Below your feet rich seams of rock wait to be dug out and converted into building materials.
The sheer scale of the game is an impressive feat, and you often feel like an explorer of old, packing up a few torches and some lumps of meat to hike over the next hill and see what wonders you can discover, and exploit, next.
Even if you're not the exploring type there's a simple joy in pulling up new materials to reinforce your house or to craft new items and tools to make your life that much easier.Home sweet home
And a life is exactly what The Blockheads provides, or multiple lives if you create more than one world. You can even create a world with a friend, and explore and build together in a persistent multiplayer game.
The Blockheads takes the Minecraft experience and shrinks it down in a way that just works on a touchscreen. There are shades of Lemmings here too, and they blend together to make a sweet game about discovery, exploration, and creation.
It won't be to everyone's taste, but if you like your games to be more of a blank canvas than a poster, then you'll love every second of The Blockheads.