My favorite Minecraft-like sandbox game on mobile (just barely edging out Survivalcraft) is Majic Jungle's The Blockheads [Free]. It takes a more two-dimensional approach to the block-based open world genre, and succeeds because of its simplicity and beautiful touch-based controls. But just because it's simple to play doesn't mean it isn't deep, though, and I've dropped dozens upon dozens of hours into the game since its release in January. We didn't hesitate to award it 5 stars in our review.
This week, perhaps the biggest update yet has arrived for The Blockheads which adds an online world hosting functionality for up to 32 concurrent players per world. Of course, since each player can have up to 4 Blockheads, there's potential to have 128 Blockheads running around in any given world, which sounds hectic and awesome. With the official Minecraft Pocket Edition still sorting out their online solution, it's nice to see the little guy get the leg up in this particular arena.
Online worlds are hosted by using a free Mac client that is available in the Mac App Store [Free] or directly from the official Blockheads website. You can host your own world, choose how many players can join, and white or black list those who you do or do not want participating. There's even an online chat option so you can talk with other players. The client is a bit basic, but totally gets the job done. The online worlds are persistent and will continue on even when you aren't playing the game, just like how the last major The Blockheads update in March allowed your world to live on even after you'd exited the game.
While currently the online client is Mac only, Windows and Linux versions are in the works, and an Android version of The Blockheads is also underway. Once all those come to market the multiplayer should work across all platforms. It's pretty exciting stuff.
New multiplayer specific items have been added as well. A safe will allow you to store items in an online world without other people messing with it, and similarly an iron door will keep everybody except you out of rooms you'd like to keep private. Also a new shop block lets you trade items with other players even when you aren't online, which is a really cool idea. You can smelt coins from the metals you find, or just collect some from the new treasure chests which are hidden throughout the terrain. Put an item up for sale on your shop block, set its price, and you can sell it to someone even if you aren't online yourself.
If hosting a large multiplayer world isn't your bag, you can simply utilize the existing two-person multiplayer through Game Center to get a more manageable online multiplayer experience, and now you can even auto-match to hook up with other random players easily and automatically. Be careful, though, I hear there are a lot of weirdos on The Internet. Finally, if face-to-face multiplayer is what you crave, then you can host a multiplayer world locally over WiFi with up to 5 people if you happen to be in the same room with some Blockheads buddies.
This update isn't strictly about multiplayer either. There's tons of new stuff affects the regular single-player game too. You can now pinch to zoom out and see the entire world from lava to space, which is incredibly handy when you need to look for something that's far away. Or just to be impressed with how much of the massive world you've dug up. And, at long last, there are now craftable signs so you can label things like chests and rooms. My color-coded method of chest organization is now obsolete!
It doesn't end there, either, but there's almost too much new stuff to list. Hit up the update description in the App Store for all the dirty details, but the bottom line is that if you haven't tried The Blockheads yet for whatever reason, you now have many more reasons to do so. Just don't blame me when your productivity drops like a rock.