Actual block parties are sadly looking more and more like a thing of the past in 2020. Fortunately, the virtual block party is as alive and thriving as ever. For developer Mythical, their hope is that they can assemble the most inclusive party possible, where everybody is invited. With that in mind, they've put together a giant mini-game world in Blankos Block Party.
The concept of Blankos Block Party is a simple one, bringing players together in a 3D platforming environment to take part in various races and other mini-games, similar to something one would see in the Mario Party series. Where Blankos sets itself apart is that it combines this concept with the world-building (and vinyl toy character art style) of LittleBigPlanet and also places it in a giant MMO setting. Shacknews recently had the opportunity to see how this works.
Much of the player's time in Blankos will be spent in a giant hub world called The Junction. This is where players can socialize with others and also take part in different single-player activities. It's a massive open world set in the sky that contains different areas to explore. For example, there's a full carnival-style area containing games like the Range that allows players to practice their shooting or the Bazaar where players can take their in-game currency (called Vibes) and shop for different pieces for their character. Blankos is filled with hundreds of different vanity pieces, like gold shoes, fancy vests, and more.
The Junction is also home to a number of helpful NPC characters. The Shaman will keep track of various achievements and dole out any rewards earned over the course of the game. He'll also help equip any cosmetics picked up, allowing the player to preview their new look. Over the course of our preview, the Shaman handed out a flying attachment that would allow players to glide long distances, opening the door to new activities, like an airborne firing range.
While there are some single-player activities to engage with, the bulk of the Blankos experience will be PvP. The majority of what we saw were foot races across different course layouts. For example, one course had a giant slide, where players raced to get to the bottom first, collecting as many Vibes as they could along the way. Players can use any tools at their disposal, unless specific rules prohibit certain attachments. Players can search for quickplay sessions with the Party Bus and play around with PvP modes to earn XP and earn some new abilities like the Dash, Dash Boost, Dash Knockback, and the Air Dash. Blankos will have more cosmetic items than functional ones, but there are a few items that help buff up player abilities.
Blankos also hopes more creative-minded players will gravitate towards the game's Build mode. Mythical emphasizes that no coding is involved, with Blankos providing full pieces for building full courses with a gamepad, like in the vein of LittleBigPlanet, Super Mario Maker, or the defunct Disney Infinity. Individual pieces can have their dimensions adjusted in order to fit the player's vision. The creator can then try their space out for themselves before pushing their "Block" for everybody to play. If inspiration strikes later, then it's possible to Unpublish to make edits. Blueprints will also be available throughout Blankos, giving players layout suggestions, similar to what one would find in a LEGO set.
This is just the start of what Mythical hopes will be a long-lasting party experience. The developer will have much more on how Blankos will keep players entertained in the future, including more details on how they're utilizing blockchain tech to provide proof of ownership for different assets and steer away from ideas like loot boxes. We'll be keeping our eye on Blankos as it inches towards release. Look for it to come to PC later this year.