Avatar Block War

Nope, I still haven’t played Minecraft.  No, I’m not avoiding it for the sake of being that one person who always has to thumb their nose up at whatever the current bandwagon is.  You won’t hear me calling it “Minecrap” or bitching about the endless clones of it that fill up the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace like pimples on the face of a 14-year-old Hershey enthusiast.

I avoid it because I’m afraid of it.  When it comes to PC gaming, I have an addictive personality.  I lost nearly a full year to World of Warcraft, another few months to the Sims, a few months to Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Plants vs. Zombies, and Bejeweled, and Peggle, etc, etc.  Basically, I have a problem.  And props to me for recognizing that and accepting that with certain games, temperance is the only solution for me.  Quite frankly, all you people like Nate Graves and Tim Hurley who keep telling me to give it a try because all cool kids are doing it are evil.  That’s right, evil.  They make after-school specials about this stuff, you know!

But if Minecraft is anything remotely like Avatar Block War, I have nothing to fear.  I’ve tried to avoid using terms like “soulless” and “cash-in” as it relates to Xbox Live Indie Games.  I have no problem with that here: Avatar Block War is a soulless cash-in.  That and it’s a buggy, crappy, glitchy, shitty, badly conceived piece of shit.  It is so bad that I think it might be the worst XBLIG I’ve played yet.  And yea, I say that a lot, but it’s not my fault you guys keep lowering the bar the way you do.

Bubbles Bubbles everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Yet.

Avatar Block War tries for the sandboxy-feel of Minecraft, but aims to be more of an arena shooter of sorts.  This was their first mistake, and leads into mistakes 2 through 285,195,106,344.  The two genres just seem incompatible.  At the very least, it doesn’t work as a kill-count driven game.  Capture the flag or territorial control might make more sense, but all that counts in Avatar Block War is the body count.  But who knows, maybe what Call of Duty really is missing is the ability to build a giant cock-shaped statue in the middle of a fire fight.  Of course, that would be a risky strategy if you played by the rules of Avatar Block War, where bullets instantly destroy blocks you lay down.  Oh, and they also kill you, because that’s sort of what bullets are made for.

There really is no benefit in building.  It doesn’t make an effective shield.  The game does have various mountains of blocks already in place, but they are of no use except to help the game find new and exciting ways to glitch out.  So I suppose I should focus on the gun-play.  It’s shallow.  It’s limited.  Bullets are represented by your gun bubbling for some reason.  The variety of guns you have doesn’t really seem to make a difference, as they all have about the same range and same kill potential.  I suppose the assault rifle is the most effective because it can destroy blocks.  That’s kind of like saying a panzer tank is the most effective vehicle during five o’clock traffic.  Only here, the panzer tank’s bullets register about three years after they’ve shot someone and the barrel doubles as a soap-bubble wand.

And now to the glitches.  Instead of picking them apart in my typical smart-ass fashion, I’m just going to list things that happened to me while I played the game using bullet points.  Mind you, I’m not going to list everything, because we would seriously be here all day and I have laundry to do.

  • Trying to climb the mountain and falling through it.
  • Being able to walk through blocks.
  • Being able to see through blocks.
  • Blocks appearing and disappearing due to clipping issues.
  • Blocks have significantly shorter draw distance than characters, so you’ll see dudes walking around long before you see any blocks, rendering hiding behind them useless.
  • Lag.  During single player.  Lots of it.
  • The most brain-dead AI I’ve ever seen.  Bots will walk against walls indefinitely.
  • In online matches, lag is truly insane.  If you shoot a person, they might go three or four minutes before the bullet registers.  I played with Bryce and Brian.  They would kill me, and then while I was respawning, the bullets I had shot at them would slowly sink in.  I would respawn, only make my way half-way to where they were at, never shooting mind you, and they would suddenly die from the bullets I had shot several minutes earlier.  This wasn’t on our connection, by the way.  We’re sure of that on the basis that SINGLE PLAYER has lag just like this, only not as brutal.
  • Also, whatever blocks you build in online play aren’t necessarily visible to everyone else.  The boys called me over to see the tower they constructed.  I came there and instead saw something vaguely resembling Stonehenge.  I also noticed they were walking on air about three feet in front of me.  As it turns out, they had built a really elaborate tower.  I just couldn’t see it.  Then I shot them in the head and they died about a week later.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  But trust me, five minutes feels like a week in this fucking game.

If not for the glitches, it's possible the game would merely be boring.

I want to once again stress that I have nothing against Minecraft.  I haven’t played it, and thus I’m not going to hate on something I haven’t tried myself.  If you’re the type that does that, grow up you fucking whinny child.  I’m also not going to hate on the fact that Minecraft clones dominate the XBLIG sales charts.  You know what?  Blame the guys making the official port of Minecraft to the Xbox 360 for taking so long.  It’s a perfectly valid market and taking advantage of a genre that is trendy is smart.  Period.  This is how the game industry works, folks.  Space Invaders was a hit and then there were Space Invader clones.  Same with Pac-Man.  Same with Super Mario Brothers.  Same with Doom.  When you bitch about crafting games dominating XBLIG, you might as well say “Someone please get me into special education because I have followed gaming my entire life and somehow still have no clue how it works at all and thus I obviously have an undiagnosed learning disability.  It’s amazing that I haven’t been killed by the force from the black hole-like vacuum where my brain should be.”

BUT, feel perfectly free to bitch about games like Avatar Block Wars, which make no effort to be fun, polished, or even working.  It’s really quite sad that it’s on the first page of the best-selling games list, or at least the daily one.  It made it look effortless, but only on account of no actual effort being made during development.

Avatar Block Wars was developed by Fredrik Stigsson

240 Microsoft Points can’t cast stones for being shameless clones of popular things for obvious reasons in the making of this review.

A review copy of Avatar Block Wars was provided by Mr. Stigsson to Indie Gamer Chick.  The copy played by Kairi was purchased by her with her own Microsoft Points.  The review code was given to someone else to provide her with a proper online experience.  That person was not involved at all in the writing or editing of this review.  For more information on this policy, please consult the Indie Gamer Chick FAQ.

Keep voting in Kairi’s Katch-Up Thursdays.  On April 5, I’ll be giving away 1600 Microsoft Points to someone who participates in the democratic process.  Even though the winner is not determined by a popular vote.  Whatever, just go vote.

Video footage courtesy of Aaron the Splazer

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

8 Responses to Avatar Block War

  1. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

  2. Starglider says:

    Apparently ‘more than 3000’ people played the trial of this game and thought ‘yes, I want to buy this’. What are they seeing that you didn’t?

  3. If you have an addictive personality, you should definitely avoid Minecraft. One of my friends who hates anything with grinding, no plot, no combat etc loves Minecraft and can’t stop playing it.

    Also, you got a laugh for this: “Someone please get me into special education because I have followed gaming my entire life and somehow still have no clue how it works at all and thus I obviously have an undiagnosed learning disability”

  4. CJ says:

    I can’t bitch about the fact that amateur developers are taking advantage of the public’s inability to discern turds from their own innards spilling out. What I can(and will) bitch about, is the fact that NEARLY EVERY SINGLE CLONE OF ANYTHING ON XBLIG IS DOWNRIGHT TERRIBLE! Excuse my french, but who do I gotta give a sexual favor to, to get a decent clone of PONG around here!? lol

    Yeah, we had official clones of popular games in the 80s and 90s, but at least most of them were playable(and sometimes better than the original game!) If I had one word to describe XBLIG’s track record of cloning stuff, it’d be:
    SUPERCRAPAFRAGELISTICEXPIALAEXPLOSIVEDIARRHEAFROMABUFFALOINYOUREAR.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Bitching about quality is fine. Bitching about the game type isn’t. That’s my point. Minecraft is trendy. Two games have netted a million dollars a piece for their developers on this. Let it roll off your tongue. One——million——dollars. That’s a fuck ton for an XBLIG. Everyone wants a piece of that. Anyone who wouldn’t is mentally ill.

  5. I recommend CastleMiner Z — you should only lose 1-2 weeks of your life before it starts getting old. 😉

  6. I just want to say that this game have had 4 updates during 2013.

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