Video games have focused on toys before, that’s true. Games like Skylanders and Nintendo’s Amiibo figures have allowed people to purchase physical figures and use them in-game. A lot of games obviously allow players to spend real money to purchase avatars and other such cosmetics, but Blankos Block Party, which focuses on digital toys, takes this more literally than anything else has. The free-to-play game is set to release this year, and I got to take part in the private beta. As this beta still has some time left in it, if you’d like to try it out, you’ll either have to get lucky via sign-up or buy a founder’s pack here.
If you don’t buy a founder’s pack, you’ll start off being dropped into the world in a loaner Blanko. In case it isn’t already clear, a Blanko is a Funko-esque toy that comes in various designs. The loaner is a plain, red figure with a capital B on its back. Even though it’s no-frills, you can still dress it up with accessories that can be attained from completing small quests in Blankos Block Party‘s game world or purchased using purchasable currency or the kind of currency you get simply from playing the game. Even if you don’t buy a founder’s pack, you can still purchase a Blanko. The ones currently available cost about $10 USD.
That being said, they’re not wholly unique. From what I can gather, there are three different base Blanko figures (counting the loaner) that have different designs on them. The devs were nice enough to give me some currency of my own, which I used to purchase a Space Girl Blanko. Once you buy a Blanko, the sealed figure is added to your shelf. In a neat twist, you can actually save these and not open them at all for what I imagine will be resale opportunities available at a later time. In order to actually use a Blanko in-game, you need to open its box. I found this to be an interesting choice that makes Blankos Block Party stand out more.
Part of your world
Blankos Block Party has a hub where you can explore a small world for collectibles and quests. It’s billed as “open world,” but that’s being a bit disingenuous. The quests are mainly tutorial-esque sections and aren’t very interesting. The real meat is in the game’s trials. All players have the ability to make their own levels in the game and most are meant to be played as part of a competitive multiplayer playlist. So far all I’ve seen are races and deathmatch shooter levels. Yes, you read that correctly.
Blankos can double jump and use other abilities based on how you allocate their skill points. You can also pick a focus for them, including speed, combat, or tricks. Every trial you complete nets you non-premium currency and experience.
I’m interested in seeing how Blankos Block Party shapes up once it releases. And I’m curious to see if it can successfully draw people in. The concept is undoubtedly exciting, and I like the focus on digital toys so we’ll need to check back in when the game officially launches (supposedly) later this year.