[PAX] Hands-On Preview: Guncraft – Build It Up, Shoot It Down
I didn’t want to play Guncraft because of its name. I’m glad I did, but I want to start with a mini rant of sorts because I feel like jumping on bandwagons when you have a legitimately good idea is a bad way to go about developing a game. Yes, Guncraft has the same graphics as Minecraft. Yes, it has building gameplay like Minecraft. No, it’s not made by Mojang, rather, it’s made by Exato Game Studios Why then, hop on the boat of popularity that is Minecraft, and risk being called a rip-off? It lowers the quality of your game when a person sees or hears the name.
Hell, even the graphics make me wonder why you would go that route. It’s exactly Minecraft’s blocky, voxel engine graphics. Mojang owns it, okay, they own it. You want to break out of the mold and be different and not scare people away from your game? Change it up. Almost any art direction could have worked; any other one. You take the building and destructible abilities of Minecraft: Fine. You take the graphics of Minecraft, too. Um, okay. Finally you name it Guncraft: I don’t know, man. I don’t know.
End rant. If you’re able to overcome that all, though, you may find a nice little gem of a game.
Guncraft is fun, it’s fast paced, it’s well-polished, and it allows you to go completely batshit on the environment. With Guncraft, you’re in for a FPS with a twist; you can build things. For example, you can build a watchtower either on the fly (which is a terrible idea as you’re left vulnerable) or with an interesting mechanic that has you erecting pre-built designs at the click of a mouse.
There are the standard FPS style matches; Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag are all modes you can play against others. The representative I spoke to informed me that there would also be other unique modes available, such as one that has lava being raised throughout the level and players having to fight each other while also managing to stay out of the lava’s way. I can see some really interesting game modes coming out of the building possibilities within the game. Hopefully Exato takes advantage.
I’m happy of how fast the gameplay is. When you die, you see the kill screen and clicking the left mouse button respawns you. Often, I wouldn’t even notice I died because I’d be in mid-click and suddenly be killed to just appear instantly. It’s an awkward occurrence, but that’s forgivable as it just means you’ll get back to playing quickly.
You also get choices between classes. I found there was a large variety of them as well as a great, big, selection of weapons to choose from. It’s great that it’ll welcome any person’s play style; I used the mobile sniper to get a shot of someone across the map and watch as their block of a head exploded like a Gallagher watermelon. The level I played in is a nod to geekdom as it’s based off of Hoth. I’m sure there will be even more little nods like those.
The vehicle I rode had bad firing accuracy when I was trying to get rid of a sniper on a roof, but thanks to the fully destructible environment, I was able to mess up his vantage point and force him to move. It just goes to show how much strategy the destruction brings. You can even build a tunnel if you manage to use the right tool (there will be axes, picks, and more that will work better than guns to destroy certain blocks of the environment).
I think it’s a fantastic gem of an indie FPS and that’s why I’m disappointed in it possibly being seen as a clone. It doesn’t even have to; standing on its own, it’s very fun. I know it’s silly to hope for a revamp before it releases (which right now is set for Spring of this year) but at least I’ll hope that people can not judge before playing like I did. Who knows, maybe it’ll work for them.