With the success of Call of Duty Zombies, you would think that more developers would be gunning for that intoxicatingly addicting gameplay formula. However, outside of the Nazi Zombie games and maybe Back 4 Blood, that hasn’t really been the case. Wagyu Games is looking to throw its hat into this particular ring with a fairly impressive new entry to the genre, and this one is built on the blockchain, offering features to players that other games can’t match. There’s plenty to talk about, both good and bad, so let’s dig into this reanimated corpse in this review of Undead Blocks.
What is Undead Blocks?
Undead Blocks is a wave-based, zombie-smashing FPS in development at Wagyu Games in association with Kevuru Games, which is helping both design and develop the gameplay. Wagyu Games is a new blockchain-forward game development studio, but Kevuru Games has worked on a number of notable titles.
They only have a few lesser-known games to their name, but they have provided design and art assistance on games like Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, and Fortnite. Undead Blocks works, but despite the credits of its developers, it has the look and feel of a project that is being made by fairly inexperienced teams.
Better Than Rotting Flesh
In terms of presentation, Undead Blocks is kind of a mixed bag. Its main menu screen feels familiar and very high quality, conjuring up memories of late nights on Call of Duty Black Ops. However, once you’re presented with the actual character models and environments, things take a bit of a turn.
Maybe It’s unfair to ding Undead Blocks for its presentation quality, since it is a blockchain game. The vast majority of those are much simpler concepts that are stylized to mask the actual level of quality you are being presented with, and at least Undead Blocks is trying to provide an experience that is both fun and familiar to gamers.
It is worth noting though, and the graphics all around could use some work. Character models are pretty flat and lifeless, the single map I saw was not very impressive, and both things looked like they could have come from an early PS3 game. At least there’s a moderately engaging game to be played.
They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara!
There are a few different gameplay modes to enjoy in Undead Blocks, but all of them really boil down to the same experience at the moment. You’ll be dropped into the game’s (currently) only map, be given some type of gun and a knife, and be tasked with surviving wave after wave of zombies. It’s fine, and the mechanics of weaving through zombies, aiming, and shooting actually feel pretty good, definitely on par with most FPS games. The “aim down sights” feature is on a toggle by default, which is a little unfortunate and confusing, but easily fixed.
There are plenty of obstacles to put some distance between you and your undead pursuers, but the game really just boils down to running away to create some distance, whipping around, and shooting into the mob of zombies that has amassed behind you. Any attempts at engaging with other things on the map like the enterable houses or even the ammo crates make you as good as dead. Stopping for a second and allowing the mob to catch up to you kills you in just about a second if you get swarmed.
There’s a little bit of breathing time in between waves, but the situation is the same in each one, and if you’re exploring a house when the zombies start to spawn, it’s pretty much game over at that point. There’s no way to create barricades or defenses around an area like there is in COD Zombies, so you’ll find yourself stuck in the house with a steady stream of zombies coming in to take a bite of you, and nowhere for you to run.
The game is fun enough as a short diversion, but not as something that is supposed to keep players engaged and returning for any length of time. Which brings us to Undead Blocks blockchain features.
Brought Back to Life by the Blockchain
Undead Blocks uses Immutable X as its blockchain platform, which gives it a number of benefits. Immutable’s ZK-Rollup tech allows Undead Blocks to use the Ethereum network with no gas fees when interacting with its NFT features.
This will become pretty important once the game is being played more widely thanks to the “Arms Dealer” renting mechanic, which allows players to rent out their high-level guns to other players as a means of passive income.
In terms of currency, Undead Blocks has three tokens: $UNDEAD, $ZBUX, and Gold ZBUX. Gold ZBUX is the game’s stable in-game currency, which can be obtained only through ZBOXs currently, but will become a reward for tournaments after launch and can be used to purchase weapons and weapon skins. Gold ZBUX can also be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies on the Wagyu Games website. Standard ZBUX is earned through regular play, and is used primarily to upgrade your weapons and boost their effectiveness as well as their value. $UNDEAD, on the other hand, is the governance token that can be bought, sold, and traded on other exchanges.
I wasn’t able to test any of these features as they have not been rolled out yet, but Wagyu Games appears to have a pretty solid plan in place for their features.
Undead Blocks is a seemingly competent zombie FPS so far. The gameplay is there but needs to be balanced, more features are on their way, and it will likely be far more fun once you’re able to play with friends. The additional play-to-earn aspects are interesting, but only if the final game ends up being worth coming back to. Far better games with much larger budgets have had entire communities fall off before very long. It might be worth revisiting Undead Blocks later on in development.