Do you know what is way harder than it looks? Game design.
So when a product comes along that pitches a boiled down version of the craft intended for children I take a look. It’s called Bloxels and it allows people, ideally kids, to build a game from scratch using nothing but a tablet and a bunch of little blocks. Polygon got a chance to try it out and they were all for it.
As you can see from the video, it’s a very layered experience. you start out by making your first level out of the blocks with each one representing something different. Reds are hazards. Yellows are coins. Greens act as the landscape and purples are enemies. In actual game design, this is how levels are built. First, you map out a level with the bare minimum to make sure the fundamentals work before moving on to adding details. This is called white box testing and it’s very important when designing a game.
Once you make a level you take a picture of it, using the free app, and it is converted into a playable side-scroller. From there you can design environments and characters using the same 13 x 13 grid. You can also add frames of animation by adjusting the blocks on the grid to make the character look like they are moving.
If you intend on getting this for your kids Polygon’s Ben Kurchera recommends you play it with them at first so they can get a grip on how it works.
Bloxels costs $49.99 which gets you the board and all the pieces. However, the app is free and you can play it now using the digital level editor. The app is available for iOS and Android.