PAX East – Battle Block Theater

March 29, 2010

Snackbar Games contributor Joe Teed attended this year’s PAX East in Boston and is sharing his experiences at the event.

Battle Block Theater looks pretty much like what you’d expect from any Newgrounds game, but the gameplay is a little more creative than The Behemoth’s previous two outings.  BBT takes a page from Smash Bros. and similar games, and adds its own unique twists on traditional arena platformer combat.

The first game mode I got to see at PAX was a wall-painting competition where two human players competed 2-on-2 against the computer, hitting walls in order to paint them in team colors.  Any wall that was touched by a player in any direction would start to flash for a minute, and if not claimed by the other team, it would convert to a solid color to indicate it had been captured.  The game here primarily consisted of trying to split up and grab as much territory as possible before then trying to reset any flashing blocks still available from the computer or go for the high risk walls guarded by giant angry raccoons (with horns).

In the second game mode, both teams competed to grab cubes of solid gold as they fell from a flying golden whale.  The gold didn’t add to your team’s points until it was then brought to a flying safe, and in between, other players could kill you and steal whatever you dropped.  This mode was a lot more frantic and confrontational than the previous level, and combat came to the fore here.

The character customization in the game is quite amazing given the minimalist Newgrounds art style used, with plenty of face shapes and facial features to make every character look unique.  Controls were fairly tight and responsive, but there was no indication that The Behemoth have gotten better at releasing games with solid netcode.  Either way, this will be a great grab for some couch multiplayer sessions.