Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Block Fortress ($1.99, Universal) is a mix of tower defense and first person shooter style games where you must create your own fortress to defend. As if defending a fortress is not challenging enough already, you must also collect rare minerals to craft better and stronger defenses to use while protecting your fortress. This game will push your warrior, engineering and crafting skills to their limits.
When building up your defenses, you can fly around the environment putting the various elements and materials in place. This helps you survey the land to determine where the most defensible position is, as well as check out your fortress before you go to battle. The left side of the screen is a virtual d-pad for strafing left and right as well as moving forward and backward. When designing your fortress, on the right side of the screen are two arrows that allow you to fly by controlling you movement up and down. However, when you are battling the enemy and defending your fortress, you are not able to fly over your opponents as you remain firmly on the ground. Also when battling, your player will be equipped with a weapon and a red fire button will appear on the right side of the screen replacing the up and down flying buttons. You look around as well as turn directions when walking or running by dragging your finger across the screen.
In this game your barracks is your home base that you must defend. If destroyed, the game is over. Placing your barracks in a defendable position and building up a fortress to defend them is more than half the fun of the game. More than just your creative building skills will be used as you must think about how the enemy will attack your fortress; there are over 30 different building blocks to choose from, each with their own characteristics, strengths and costs. You will choose between different types of wood, stone and steel materials when you build your defenses. The weapons you mount on your turrets have their own characteristics as well: each has a different range and will inflict varying amounts of damage. Some weapons will require mounting an accompanying spotlight when fighting at night. You are also responsible for placing power blocks and boosters around your fortress in order to supply your weapons with the energy they need to operate.
Your fortress is not the only thing that needs to be well equipped to fight off the enemy. Being a first person shooter as well, your avatar also needs to suit up for battle. For the most part, this involves selection of various hand weapons that you will use to take out individual attacking units on the battlefield. As you continue to play the game, you will see that your avatar levels up and unlocks additional weapons, armor and tools.
There are three main gaming modes to choose from. Survival is the most difficult of the three as you must gather the minerals you need in order to build up your defenses. There is no pause button in survival mode. In Quickstart mode, you are given enough resources to build a defendable fortress. When the game begins you are given time to build these defenses before starting the battle. With the Sandbox mode of gameplay, you have an unlimited supply of resources and you can start and stop the battle whenever you need to in order to readjust your strategy. Sandbox is a great mode to get started with, as you can work your way of to playing in Survival mode.
You can also choose where on the map of a fairly large region you would like to set up your barracks. Green Hills, Jungle, Snowy Hills, Rocky Mountains, Tropical Islands and Tidal Cliffs are the terrains you have to choose from. Each terrain has a set of minerals that are more common in that area of the map. The Jungle and Green Hills, for instance, have an abundance of rare green minerals. If you don’t want to choose where you start, there is a random setting that will pick the terrain for you. It is important that you play in different locations in order to collect minerals from each region.
As you accumulate these minerals, you can use them to create crafting mods that will permanently upgrade your blocks, weapons and equipment. Each resource you use to build up your defenses and equip your avatar for battle can be upgraded. The more minerals you collect in each of the different regions, the more you can upgrade your favorite gear.
There is certainly a lot going on within this game. The 3D environment you play, while not the most stunning graphically, does captivate you. The landscape you have to work with is very large, and you are free to roam around while your fortress is being invaded. You are even able to save your creations so you can modify them and tweak them in order to get your strategy down to a science. So this weekend find a secure location in your household and prepare to defend it, because you will be spending a lot of time playing Block Fortress.