Genre: Puzzle/Cards Developer: Publisher: Electronic Arts Classification: G Release Date: 15th May 2008 Platforms:Wii
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The Good bits
Easy to pick up and play
Fun for all ages
The Bad stuff
Very cute - not a hardcore game
Not necessarily what you expect from the man behind E.T.
How do you think the Boom Blox pitch went down? If you were in the board room with Steven Spielberg when he pitched a cute version of Jenga on the Wii, would you have told the guy behind E.T., Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List what you really thought? The man burps Oscars and farts money.
That’s right. If SS said he wanted to make a first person shooter about a Space Marine stationed on Mars where a portal to Hell opens, you’d have your Thesaurus open at D before he said pinky demon if you wanted to keep your job.
This meant seeing positive initial reports of the ‘berg’s block knocking bonanza was hardly a shock - most video game reviewers secretly want to be him - so I had to see Boom Blox for myself.
The first thing you should do when you start Boom Blox is check your sensitivity. I’d set mine on ultra high to get another game to work reliably, and it made the game nearly impossible for a long time. I was still enjoying the game, but I couldn’t imagine an eight year old enjoying themselves at the time. Having fixed the wiimote I can see eight year olds liking this. I can see 20 and 40 year olds liking this.
You see, instead of building a larger and larger tower like in Jenga, the aim of Boom Blox is simply knocking everything down – or just throwing away the “blox" you’re not using any more. Maybe the enjoyment I derive is a comment on human nature, or maybe I’m reading too much into a game about throwing exploding baseballs at wooden blocks.
There’s a creation mode in the game as well, so saying that it’s all destruction isn’t fair. You’re able to build your own challenges from puzzle pieces you earn in the game, and you can even send those challenges to your friends. I was more interested in wrecking stuff, of course.
What a chicken!
When you break it down, Boom Blox is just a puzzle game. A surprisingly addictive puzzle game. There’s a tower with point blox on it, and you must get those points. Each challenge gives you a specific item to use – sometimes you’ll be rocking the exploding baseballs to blow blox straight out of the tower, or you might have a fire hose to blast blox out.
Different blox do different things too. Most of them do obvious things – vanishing blox vanish, exploding blox explode and points blox give points – but the chemical blox need to be combined to create a reaction, adding an extra element to your strategy.
There’s an Adventure mode to play through if you want, told in rhymes like a Dr Seuss story, and the characters are cute enough to reinforce how young the target demographic is, but the story mode just throws more puzzles at you. Which, in a puzzle game, is hardly a bad thing.
Despite initial apprehension towards the game, I’d say Steven Spielberg’s destructive take on Jenga is a solid game. The younger crowd is clearly the focus for this game and there are aspects of the game which make it hard to recommend to the average hardcore gamer – similar to Super Mario Galaxy. Nevertheless, it combines good graphics, fun gameplay and great motion controls into an experience we rarely see from third party Wii games.
Will Boom Blox fill the void when you finish Grand Theft Auto IV? Will it replace your World of Warcraft addiction? No. It’s a budget priced title though, it has hotseat multiplayer (you can pass the remote on to the next person to play) and it’s a great distraction allround. Get this game.