Everything is a remix. Familiar traits and tropes are recycled and rearranged to create something new that, in turn, combines with other ideas to create something else entirely different. Embracing the remix to harness the creativity of gamers is exactly what Block Fortress aims to do. Combining the block-building of Minecraft with the wildly fun tower defense games and dash of first-person shooter isn’t something we’ve seen before. Will the remix of Block Fortress be music to our ears or just some sliced up WUB WUB WUB? Let’s take a look.

Foursaken has brought us some seriously fun and ambitious titles. Heroes and Castles was another tower defense game that thrusts you right into the action with a first person perspective. With Block Fortress, they aim to enlarge the scope of the gameplay they’ve played with before.

At first glance, Block Fortress looks like a Minecraft clone. It has the endless amount of little squares that make up the world. It has randomly-generated levels. You can even add mines to your little encampment. But make no mistake, you won’t be punching trees for the first hour of the game to gather resources.

The core concept of Block Fortress is that you begin as an omniscient builder creating a protective fortress around your barracks. You can fly around the world and strategically place your base at the bottom of a gully, top of a hill, or surrounded by open plains. Then, you can hover around placing walls, turrets, plasma guns, and anything else within your budget to deter waves of marauding Goblocks.

Once the invasion wave begins, you’re thrust into the boots of your character on the ground with only the weapons you’ve equipped to defend yourself. There’s no digging, no punching trees, not a pickaxe in sight.

To describe the gameplay using a lot of hyphens, it is a sort of Minecraft-Tower-Defense-First-Person-Shooter. This may seem a bit schizophrenic, but Block Fortress pulls off this amalgamation of genres with surprising ease.

From the menu, you have the choice of three different modes of gameplay. Survival has you gathering minimal resources in between waves of attacking Goblocks of increasing strength. It is very much reminiscent of the game that so inspired the aesthetics. You have an unlimited amount of time to prepare, but with limited resources, you can only do so much. After you repel each wave of Goblocks, you receive a bit of money for repairs, expansion, and upgrades. If you placed your base well and there’s a deposit of minerals nearby, then you’ll receive an extra bonus to resources. Once you’ve finished your work, the next wave of baddies will appear and you'll repeat the process for as long as you can.

The second mode is Quickplay. This gives you all the resources in the world, but you have only one chance to create your fortress. This mode forces you to think more strategically and farther ahead than Survival. In the previous mode, you’re trying desperately to cling on through each wave. In Quickplay, you want to consider how the Goblocks might attack your base, and in what force. This is because after you tap the map in the top left to signal your ready for battle, the onslaught does not cease until you are dead. There are no breaks to repair and revive like in survival. Quickplay allows you to reenact the Alamo with geometric shapes and little goblins with machine guns and swords.

The final mode gives you free reign over anything and everything within the game. It basically allows your imagination to wander free and create whatever fortress you want with unlimited resources and a bit of respite between waves of oncoming enemies. It essentially is the experimental proving ground for your fortress designs and defenses.

The fun of Block Fortress is all within the gameplay. After omnisciently floating around, creating the fortress of your dreams, you get to descend from on high to defend your creation down in the nitty-gritty beside your turrets, walls, and other defenses with nothing but the weapons in your backpack. What could possibly be more fun?

The freedom of Block Fortress coupled with the strong tower defense focus and first-person gameplay gives you an experience you’ve never seen before. This challenging little game forces you to use your imagination in order to succeed. It can be quite addictive just hovering around and seeing what sort of unbelievable castles you can make and functionally defend. You become interested in not only what your fortress looks like, but how it truly functions in a Goblock raid. It forces you to think strategically when mining for ore, placing power stations, and choosing ways to illuminate the landscape during a nighttime raid.

While Block Fortress is a unique and endlessly fun game, it does have some shortcomings. The control scheme and layout can be clunky and is far too miniscule to be of any real use on anything smaller than an iPad Mini. The menu and crafting systems are not intuitive at all. Finally, your prompt on how to play the game is essentially nonexistent. It is all an endless cycle of trial and error until you deduce the basic gist of what you need to be doing. Even after all of that, you may not be doing it that effectively. With a bit more explanation and intuitive controls, Block Fortress could be the near perfect game that is in a genre all on its own.

Block Fortress is an fantastically unique and enjoyable experience with a surprising amount of depth due to its emphasis on your own creative mind. You’re only limited by what you have in your own head and what those little Goblock scamps can overrun. It will provide you with hours of enjoyable gameplay and is well deserving of a spot on your homescreen. It is a remix of genre’s that we’d like to hear more often.


App Store Link: Block Fortress for iPhone & iPad | By Foursaken Media | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 266 MB | Rating 4+

9.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating