Block N Load Usability Review

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Block N Load is Minecraft meets Team Fortress 2, a building-based, wacky and fun game.

 I wish I had more time to play around with this game -- I had a busy weekend and so only got a few hours with it before the trial ran out. Thus this blog post will be much shorter than my previous entry.

Usability-wise, this game makes a good first impression. Initial registration is blazingly fast, and the home screen UI is clearly presented and straightforward.

Block N Load's main usability issue is not presenting the player with all of the knowledge they need before starting their first game.


Traps...? What Traps?

First, the practice map foregoes trap/tool training. While the practice map clearly teaches environment (lava = bad) and movement (here's how to crawl), it doesn't go beyond basics. Traps, I discovered during game one, are widely used and greatly helpful.

The widespread use of traps surprised me -- if trap placement is as integral to gameplay as building, why wasn't I made aware of the tools? Retrospectively, I had access to traps/tools and the knowledge to place them, but wasn't aware that I should take note of all the items in my toolbar. Eager to start playing the game, I dutifully followed instructions and rushed through the practice map, not spending time to experiment.

As such, I felt somewhat lost when playing an actual round. I had no idea what traps had been placed, let alone how to avoid them. In a way, it felt like bringing a knife to a gun fight -- woefully under-prepared, I was steamrolled.

...I would if I could, but I can't so I won't.

Second, I couldn't take advantage of one of Block N Load's useful features: selecting a respawn point. I left and right clicked on the mini-map, experimented with the camera buttons on the left, and started pressing buttons at random. I think respawn selection is a great feature, and I would have loved to use it had I known how.

Though the prior two points arose from lack of knowledge/awareness, one other element in Block N Load annoyed me: the practice map teaches the game's basics by bludgeoning the player with tutorial tips.  Instead of showing a tip when a player first enters a region or encounters an obstacle, the practice map flashes the tip whenever a player enters a tutorial region.

Tooltip Bonanza
Once, when stuck at an obstacle, I heard the tooltip sound more than ten times in one minute.


  • Tweak the practice map such that players are taught the importance -- or at least existence -- of traps. 
  • At least when the player first dies that round, put the instructions for choosing a respawn point near the minimap. 
  • Measure the amount of time new players spend on each obstacle in the practice map and average the result. Players who spend more than the average time in that area are shown the tooltip again as a gentle reminder.

Overall, Block N Load is easy to play with an intuitive interface. I wish I had more time to dig in and analyze the usability before the trial ran out, but such is life. If you like Minecraft or Team Fortress 2, I recommend trying out Block N Load.


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