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An interesting experiment in taking the Minecraft clone formula and applying it to the first-person shooter genre.

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We all know the story: Minecraft ripped off Infiniminer. It made a lot of money. Everyone else ripped off Minecraft. They made a lot of money. It’s a tale that’s been retold for ages in this industry, so it’s no surprise when yet another aspirant to the Minecraft throne shows up. This time it’s Gunscape, an attempt to blend Minecraft and FPS games into your very own create-your-own-FPS platform.

Gunscape does come with a sample campaign, much like systems like RPG Maker might. There’s not a lot to say about it other than that it does a good job of showing off the basics of FPS design. Twenty years of FPS games, of course, means that the basics of FPS design don’t make for especially fascinating gameplay, so the base campaign is really only good for helping you generate ideas.

The heart and soul of Gunscape lies in using the level design tools to create your own levels instead. This works out a little like Minecraft; you’ve got blocks and props, you assemble them to create whatever you please, and voila, you’re the next Carmack. The selection of materials hits on sci-fi, military and fantasy tropes, so you shouldn’t have too many issues finding what you need. Frankly, it would be much easier to do all this with a mouse, but it’s not impossible with a controller. So far as I can tell this game had a microtransaction system on PC, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here, with a large number of blocks available right out the gate.

Not everyone’s cut out for level design, of course, That’s why you can look for other people’s levels and try those out instead, or even team up for multiplayer level creation. You’ll rapidly discover that, uh…not everyone’s cut out for level design. If you remember Super Mario Maker, well, the same standards apply here. Most of the levels you can find and play are terrible. Digging around for the diamond in the rough is fun enough, at least; there’s an interesting (if not innovative) selection of guns to blast away with while you stumble through some 12-year-old’s non-Euclidian nightmare.

Graphics and sound are pretty standard for the genre…by which I mean the Minecraft clone genre. Everything is blocky and low-fi, pretty much exactly what we’ve come to expect in the era of indie games. That’s not really surprising or even bad, given the level creation focus of the game and the need to save on resources. The game generally runs well and it’s easy to play and use.

Gunscape is an interesting experiment in taking the Minecraft clone formula and applying it to another type of game genre. At the very least it’s not yet another survival game, so that almost earns it a recommendation all by itself. The value of Gunscape as a platform for making some nice old-school FPS stages can’t be denied, so anyone with a creative streak and a love of rocket jumping may want to check it out.

About the Author: Cory Galliher