Blockland is a game that bills itself as "playing with LEGOs on the Internet." While that may be true visually, playing with LEGOs is much easier.
The real power of successful block-building games like Minecraft and physical block-building using LEGO isn't the blocks, it isn't the colours, and it isn't the stuff you build.
It's the ease in which you can build those things.
In Minecraft, you left cilck a block to break it and right click to place a new one. It couldn't be easier.
With phyiscal LEGO blocks, you connect the circular nibs into the slots on the back of other blocks to make them interconnected. Again, very simple. This is one of the reasons that LEGO and Minecraft alike are really popular with the age 12 and under demographic.
I feel that there are a lot of awesome ideas in Blockland, such as the flashlight, the jetpack, and the level templates you can start building in. Painting your blocks with a spraycan is also a neat idea. The game runs well, doesn't crash, and is reasonably priced (just $20 for a lifetime license.)
It's the actual building part in which it fails.
It's not alone in this, though. LEGO Universe, the official LEGO MMORPG and building game uses this same system. In Blockland, as in LEGO universe, you place blocks by first selecting the orientation and position of where you'd like to lay it down. Then, when you're happy where it will go, you press the Enter key on the numeric keypad to actually place the blocks. In this way, building is more accurate since blocks can be different shapes and sizes, but it's also much slower than other games.
If the developer of Blockland were to re-release the game with controls that matched Minecraft key-for-key, I'd bet his sales would skyrocket. I'd love to see that.
If you're looking for more customizable builds than Minecraft's simple cubes, give Blockland a go. There's a lot to like, here.
If you're loving the gameplay found in Minecraft and are looking to try out some similar games, give these games a try. Some are even free to play!
Not all of these are Minecraft clones, however. Infiniminer was actually a huge inspiration to Notch when he started building Minecraft. Also, Notch was part of the team that worked on Wurm Online before leaving to go do his own gig.
This is the video follow-up to the Minetest-c55 post posted a few days ago. In this video, we walk through a few moments of gameplay of Minetest-c55 including connecting to a local server in my office, scooping a rat, discovering a random green man, and chopping a tree. Exciting!
Minetest-c55 seems like it's coming along well but needs some texture and UI love. It's really confusing to try and craft things or refine items, as well, which will likely be a problem for early adopters. It's easy to see where the game is headed and quite a bit of hard work has already been completed.
I've also read that the creator of Minetest-c55, Perttu Ahola, has stated:
"I intend to make an another good game, not a clone." so we'll be watching the development of this project with excitement.