Minecraft with guns is not as awesome as it should be.
Ace of Spades is perhaps best summed up as this: Minecraft with guns. It is even stated on it’s official website: “It’s the best bits of Minecraft crossed with the fast-paced shooter gameplay of [Team Fortress 2]”. That sounds awesome, and rightfully so. Who needs a sword when you can use a bazooka to shoot zombies in the face? However, it is not awesome, and it is a disappointment that Ace of Spades fails to deliver on this promise. The problem starts once you start the game. Instead of going into a client like Minecraft, you are instead redirected to a webpage with a list of servers, with a font that’s hard to read and server names that are harder to understand. You try to select a server, but it’s either full or has a connection problem of some sort. You poke around, find one you like, and are thrust into the blocky world of Ace of Spades. You join one of two teams: Team 1, the blue team, and Team 2, the green team (Servers can change the team colours, if they so wish). You then are presented with three weapons: the Rifle, which fires single accurate shots at long range, the SMG, which rapidly fires bullets in exchange for an accuracy penalty, and the Shotgun, which fires 8 pellets to do massive damage at close range. You also get 3 incendiary grenades that has the potential to heavily damage multiple enemies. The game world is like Minecraft in that it is made out of blocks that you can destroy either with your weapon, or a spade (The title makes sense now!) that you are given with all weapons. You are also given 50 grey blocks that you can place onto the landscape at any time. The spade is incredibly useful for building tunnels, foxholes, destroying barricades, and so on. However, the blocks are not as useful due to one incredibly annoying issue: You only get 50 blocks per life. That’s right, you only get the equivalent of a small house per life. That makes building large bases impossible, and anything else a frustrating task. It doesn’t matter though, because once you get out in battle and build something, it either gets blown up, or you get killed. And lord, you get killed so often that it’s unfair. While the block limit is annoying, there’s something that is just infuriating and completely unjust: the headshot mechanic. If you get shot in the head, no matter what weapon you have, you die instantly. This makes the Shotgun worthless, as there’s no need for a close range weapon if you can just aim for the head. This basically prioritises the rifle as the weapon of choice, but I see players with SMGs running around shooting wildly, only to get a lucky headshot with their spam of bullets. And it truly is lucky. The SMG has such a bad recoil that aiming is near-impossible, even at close range. This makes so easy for players with Rifles to take down a soldier that has even the most powerful machine gun, because you can just get one headshot and take him down. This makes the combat rely more on luck than any aspect of skill, because you just need one shot. One shot. The graphics hold true to the promise that “Your grandmother’s rig can run this game”. The graphics are blocky just like in Minecraft, yet doesn’t need a 4GB gaming card to run properly. The game doesn’t lag at all, at the cost of a short render distance and some murky graphics. The shadows and lighting appears to be randomly placed, making for some wonky environments, especially in houses and tunnels. But you won’t find any houses, unless they were already generated with the map (not likely unless you find a custom server). The spare houses really add more environment than any of the actual nature, because it feels like you are fighting where a past war has taken place, and not just for any apparent reason. However, I just can’t get over the fact that the gameplay relies only on luck. The headshot mechanic doesn’t add much strategy to combat, the 50 block limit means that any buildings you make will either have to be extremely bare-bones or ridiculously small, and what’s even worse is that you even need luck before you spawn! Some maps are so big, that it takes up to 3 minutes of pure walking just to get to your destination when you spawn. And still, when you die, the spawn times aren’t a set time. Instead of 5-15 seconds like most games, you either get a spawn of 5 seconds, or 35 seconds without any reason for them switching back and forth. And what’s even worse about this is that this game plays nothing like both Minecraft nor Team Fortress 2. The combat is completely off, the building mechanic is barebones at best, there is no aspect of survival, the game relies on pure luck, and it is an absolute crime against the videogame community to compare this failed science project to two of the absolute best games of all time. If you are really into Minecraft and wish it had some more combat options without having to survive off of anything, then you might waste an afternoon on this game. Otherwise, give this game a break. This luck-driven smorgasbord of a bunch of different ideas just don’t mesh together, and the result is a feeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction. It’s too bad, because this game could have been much better than you think it would be.