Tag Archives: Block King

REVIEW: Block King 2

Much like the original, the genius (those always judging books by their covers would say anti-genius) of Block King 2 ($1.00) isn’t in its basic, blocky1 looks or its limited selection of game modes; it’s in its uncanny ability to bring together groups of friends to take part in frantic, FPS-style, human-Jenga deathmatches. Said matches are usually full of obscenities, WTF moments, and plenty of human error blamed on the game, internet connections, and other imaginary obstructions2. Oh, and fun, too. There’s a lot of fun here.

Block King 2 - Screen

The premise of the game remains unchanged. You— and up to seven others online— battle for the high ground3 while simultaneously breaking apart the ground beneath you… and others, of course. While you shoot and control your avatar from the standard FPS perspective, the emphasis here is more on platforming. Your success ultimately depends on your ability to dodge and jump with as much grace as you can muster, and maybe get off a well-timed shot or two. If you can grab the lone powerup (think higher jumps, multi-shots, etc.) at the beginning of the match too, well, you’re most of the way there.

New this time around are a couple of different block types, including one that prevents you from jumping (not good when you’re in the heat of battle), and another that automatically sends you flying once you touch it. The game’s biggest change comes with the much-needed inclusion of A.I. bots that will stand in for human players while playing offline, which is extremely helpful given the lack of an online community. Such is the state of XBLIG; you’re more than likely going to  have to organize matches with friends yourself, rather than hoping to find random people playing the game.

Block King 2 - Screen2

Which you should, because Block King 2 is a hell of a lot of fun to play online. Thankfully it’s not required as it was with the first game, but that’s definitely the intended way to go (and sadly, you won’t be able to unlock new characters and skin colors unless you play online). Once again, games like Block King 2 prove you don’t need the fanciest visuals and a dozen different game modes to make a great game. All you need is a rather simple idea, some blocks, randomized chaos, and a few friends.


  1. Sorry, too easy. 
  2. Add some blatant racism and homophobic remarks to the mix, and you’d have your average online gaming experience. 
  3. The ‘high ground’ is tactically important, always. Anakin didn’t have it, and look what happened to him. Sure, you get a cool suit and the voice of James Earl Jones, but you’re giving up Natalie Portman and an actual human body with all your appendages. Seems like a steep penalty for not having the ‘high ground’, amirite? 
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REVIEW: Air War

If Air War ($1.00) and its block-styled confines look familiar to you, you’re not alone / crazy1. A lot of its designs and assets owe their origin to Block King, developer Chris Antoni’s previous… um… block-styled confines. Much the same as in that game, Air War is an online shooter for up to eight players2, best enjoyed with friends and an unhealthy amount of trash talk.

Air War - Screen

And by shooter, I mean ship-based dogfighting in the first-person sense, with aerial battles taking place in three different arenas. Despite the visual similarities, each stage does an adequate job of varying the architecture, leading you through narrow gaps and around other obstacles, avoiding fire (and walls!) and trying to get the drop on your opponents.

The perspective can be a little jarring at first, yet the controls and the flying itself is pretty straightforward. The game allows you to tweak your ship and play style mid-flight, adding or subtracting points to laser power, shield strength, and speed. Your starting craft is similar to Star Wars‘ TIE fighters, but you can spend your banked points from kills on bigger, stronger ships that will last the duration of your next life. This applies a welcome layer of strategy and ‘risk vs. reward’ to the fighting, as you can morph from a lumbering fortress to a nimble jet in just a few seconds, adjusting to match the situation.

While Air War is doubtlessly intended as a multiplayer game, there is a single-player option that pits you against AI drones (with both air and ground targets). This functions more like a so-so ‘waiting room’ than a standalone mode. In a novel workaround to XBLIG’s notoriously-vacant online community, the game can change from that single-player mode to multiplayer on the fly, courtesy of a drop-in, drop-out option that will let players ‘invade’ your game.

Air War - Screen2

That multiplayer isn’t perfect, though. There’s some noticeable lag between the on-screen action and what’s actually happening, as well an issue that prevents you from having more than four players in a lobby3. There’s also the aforementioned lack of an online community to consider, as the single-player offering here doesn’t provide much of a reason to play, beyond being a distraction as you wait for friends / randoms to join.

Ultimately, Air War isn’t as fast and fun as Block King, nor does it offer much depth or replayability. At times, it can feel like an add-on or an elaborate test of working parts that might eventually comprise a bigger game. However, if you’re in the mood for some basic-looking air-to-air combat— and have friends willing to play with you— Air War fills a niche.


  1. I mean, you still might be. I have no way of knowing, and I’m not exactly a good judge of sanity anyway. 
  2. Although consider yourself forewarned; in my time with the game, Air War would never allow more than four players in one match. Oh, and much thanks to ‘ImTheMetalLord’, ‘andregurov’, and Chris Antoni for their help in testing the game’s multiplayer. 
  3. See #2 above. 

REVIEW: Block King

In simple terms, Block King ($1.00) is a first-person shooter for up to eight players online1 (there is no single-player option, minus the trial / tutorial), featuring various unlockable shapes and shaders as combatants. Although, technically, it’s also not a first-person shooter2. Bear with me. You move and fire shots from that perspective, granted, but you aren’t exactly ‘fragging’ your targets in the traditional sense. Rather, in the vein of stuff like Hidden In Plain Sight, you’re better off thinking of Block King as a ‘party game’, one suited to quick bouts and even quicker trash-talking.

Block King - Screen

Well, to put it succinctly.

You see, instead of killing your targets personally, in a flash of FPS gore and glory, Block King requires a more tactical and (damn near) precognitive approach. In a semi-less violent twist, here you’re shooting at the floor beneath your opponents’ feet, slowly destroying the hovering playing field until they fall through the cracks and only one of you is left standing at the top. Needless to say, having the ‘high ground’ is very much an advantage and understatement.

Fights take place on 28 multi-colored (and same-y) blocky battlegrounds, alternating maps between rounds, but the goal remains steadfastly the same. Matches themselves can last a few seconds or almost a minute, with tense duels and fancy footwork ultimately making up the difference between victory and defeat. You’re only given one life per round (you can move around and spectate after death), but with things moving this fast and fun, you’re rarely waiting for long before you can jump right into the next.

You can further improve your odds by collecting powerups at the start of the match, using stuff like Blast Off (extreme height), High Jump, Camouflage, Lasers, and more to turn the tide. Winning a match grants you ‘multiplayer points’, good towards unlocking new shapes and / or color choices for your character.

Block King - Screen2

Those unlockables are purely cosmetic, mind you, and the rest of the options are pretty bare-boned. While the game is otherwise pick-up-and-play, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved. The controls take some getting used to, as does the overly-sensitive movement. Combine the latter with precarious edges and rapidly-disintegrating floors, and you can easily become your own worst enemy.

That said, most— if not all— of these problems are erased when you’re playing the multiplayer. Much like HiPS and other party games3, Block King is at its addictive best when played with friends, locally or online. In a perfect world, XBLIGs would have a wider online community (sadly, it doesn’t), but if you have a group of pals and some loose change to spare, Block King is more than worthy of its dollar asking price and your time.


  1.  A big thanks to developer Chris Antoni, ‘ImTheMetalLord’, and everyone else that showed up to help playtest the multiplayer for this review. Much appreciated, guys! 
  2. For categorization purposes, though, this is listed under FPS. 
  3. You know, casual, social, murder simulators. Good times.