Minecraft Meets FPS – Ace Of Spades Hands-On
Ace Of Spades is Minecraft meets FPS.
There you go! There’s the laziest intro you’ll ever see on NowGamer, flexing its SEO muscles for seven words before calling it a day.
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If you want a fuller intro than the one provided, Ace Of Spades is… actually, no, we’re just going to repeat what we said. It’s Minecraft meets FPS.
Have a look at aceofspades.com to see. Have a look at these screenshots to see. See? Minecraft meets FPS.
“But what is this madness, how is that possible?” you cry, flipping your keyboard in sheer terror at the genre-splicing madness.
Minecraft Meets FPS
It’s simple. Ace Of Spades can be played as a straight up 8 vs. 8 FPS game in a world that looks as though it was assembled on the Minecraft factory floor, being built out of voxel blocks, bright colours and straight lines.
Every block of the world can be obliterated. Blocky bridges can be chipped away with pistols or blown up with dynamite until their foundations are gone and they crumble into the knee-high river below. Trees can be brought down with shotguns. Walls can be worn down with rocket launchers.
Ace Of Spades differs from the usual games shouting about destructible environments on its press release because in this world, everything must go. There are no indestructible pillars to hide behind, no essential structures with an invulnerable framework to shield you from gunfire. Everything is built on blocks and every block can be destroyed. The world is yours to smash to pieces.
We’re not going to say “this lends itself to obvious tactical advantages such as shooting away at cover!” because you’re not an idiot, you were already thinking that. What it does is two things.
First, it creates a nice sense of uncertainty and unease. You aren’t safe anywhere in Ace Of Spades’ world so you’re to survive you either keep on the move and challenge your opponent’s aim to be good enough to hit you or get creative – more on that second option later.
Secondly, it’s strangely empowering knowing everything in the world falls apart thanks to your firepower, and it’s great fun leaving your battle scars across Ace Of Spades’ colourful playgrounds.
Four classes bring unique skills to the battle. Scout is the fastest, packing a SMG as his weapon of choice while Engineer can set up mines and gun turrets. Soldier is the cigar-chomping all-rounder and Miner can build and clear blocks the fastest.
Miner sounds useless in the context of the other classes who are armed to the teeth, but his unique skill of building and demolishing at great speed plays into the other side of Ace Of Spades – creating new landscapes.
This is where you get creative to survive. By calling up prefabs, you get to quickly place huge blocks and structures around the world. You can throw up towers, walls and barricades or carve out bunkers, sniper windows and tunnels.
With a quick-clicking finger and some creativity, you can stitch together increasingly elaborate structures until the other team wanders over and blows it up with rocket launchers. Consider this. We played one level on a lunar base, with lunar mountains, space stations and decreased gravity giving way to a wide open central area, giving the map an open feel. Open, as with any FPS, means vulnerable. Vulnerable means imminent death. Imminent death is not good.
Fear of imminent death led a ramshackle bunker being built out of side of the space station, with a small window to snipe out of. Walls for the bunker were built two blocks thick, then three blocks thick, then four blocks thick as cowardice took hold. And there it was – our own sniper bunker, thick enough to withstand rocket launcher fire, with the smallest of windows to snipe from.
Then one of the enemy team figured out our tactic and started demolishing the rear of the bunker with a pickaxe. It was genuinely terrifying to see daylight poke through the bunker wall, knowing our hiding place had been breached. There’s just no equivalent of it in any other FPS game we’ve ever played.
Token Zombies Mode
Likewise, there’s a zombies mode. Boo zombies! Zombies are boring! Boring zombies! Boo! That’s the instinctive reaction to any zombies mode nowadays but when you play the variant in Ace Of Spades, you come to realise it’s actually refreshingly different.
The survivors are holed up in a church, which goes up many floors into the sky, and they have a few minutes to cobble together defences before the invasion begins. On the zombie-side, the undead have no guns but they can destroy blocks at a terrifying rate.
What this leads to is a bizarre meta-game where survivors climb higher and higher in the church to escape zombie clutches, gaining the distance to safely pick them off, while the zombies start clawing away at the base of the church and its towers to bring the entire thing down.
While most zombie modes are played on a horizontal, flat surface, Ace Of Spades dares survivors to climb fragile structures to get away. Better yet, when the sides are swapped after the round is over, the structural damage remains, so you’re left picking through debris and a damaged, rickety church.
Minecraft Meets FPS (How Many More Times Do We Need To Say It?)
At the very, very basic level, Ace Of Spades can be played as though it’s a FPS game with destructible environments. At a ever-so-slightly-less-than-basic level, you can chip away at the world, carving out shortcuts, destroying everything around you.
It works really well. We’re not going to use the word ‘charming’ because that word has been ruined by writers who use it as shorthand for ‘lots of colours and vaguely cartoony’ but Ace Of Spades is endearing and lovely, two words you’d rarely use to describe a FPS.
We’re grown men with neckbeards that smell of ham and yet even we tittered with glee at the vibrancy and chaos of Ace Of Spades.
It’s an impossible game not to love and given its budget price point when it releases in early December, we predict great things for this quirky shooter.