Minecraft may be an indie hit 'round the world, but ask any ADD-stricken 12 year old how it might be improved, and they'll all probably tell you the same thing: guns! Enter: Guncraft.
Guncraft aims to merge the voxel-based graphics and terrain-manipulation of Minecraft with the standard gameplay elements of any first-person shooter. Players have a wide variety of levels in which to dismember each other, and have an equally wide variety of class kits to choose from, with the included option of customizing your own class to include the sort of weapons, equipment, skins, and perks you find to fit your playstyle the best. All of the standard FPS guns are available — machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, etc., and most of your equipment is equally standard, with the exception being your choice of melee weapon. Some melee weapons grant increased terraforming skills at the cost of striking power, and others are just the opposite.
There are no single-player options here, so if the servers are as unstable (as they frequently were when we were testing out the game), you're out of luck. There is LAN support, however, so if you feel like rockin' it like it's 1997, go nuts.
Once you actually make it into a game, you'll find terraforming that isn't as good as Minecraft's and gunplay that isn't as good as shooters from 15 years ago. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, and done better. Everything works fine, more or less, but after spending a few minutes shooting ugly squaremen you'll probably find yourself wishing for a Gears of War Lancer or a Minecraft pickaxe.
Being able to modify the battlefield at-will is an interesting concept, but outside of building the occasional staircase it doesn't seem to be that useful, and it's certainly not fun. Sure, you can spend a few seconds digging a pit, but other players can fill it just as easily, rendering the whole thing moot. And while, yes, Guncraft is an indie title, it's also ugly as sin — far uglier than even the earliest versions of Minecraft. Speaking of which, both the voxel-based graphical style and the use of craft in the name make it painfully clear that this title wants to bank on the success of Minecraft, perhaps because the developers didn't think it was a good enough game to stand on its own. On the positive side, there are a wide number of playing arenas with some interesting layouts to them, and a well-designed support system for potential Guncraft communities, but these small factors can't compensate for such bland shooter action.
Guncraft isn't a bad game, but it's certainly not a good one. For any of you who have hungered for something different to spice up your Minecraft sessions, you'd probably have more fun finding a weird mod to install, because Guncraft's shooting action is basic, the graphics are unappealing, the music is next-to-nonexistent, the terraforming isn't very good, and the entire game feels uninspired and under-cooked.
This review is based on a copy of Guncraft purchased for Steam on the PC.