Boom Blox Review (WII)

Steven Spielberg produces a "must have" Wii game that strengthens the third party Wii cause.

Posted by Robert Workman on Thursday, May 08, 2008

Creating a successful puzzle game from scratch is incredibly tough, especially if you've never created one before. However, if anyone could put smarts into a puzzle game, it would be film director Steven Spielberg. To no one's surprise, his puzzle game debuts with great aplomb, thanks to some assistance from EA Los Angeles. Boom Blox simply piles on the fun.

 The set-up is relatively simple. You start the game by creating a save file with a rectangular animal, be it a penguin, a cow or something else, and then go to work. Boom Blox offers three straightforward modes, Play, Party and Create. Play features a variety of single-player challenges including Adventure, where you assist or defeat on-screen characters. It also features Explore, where you learn the tools of Blox's trade and use them to your advantage. Knocking Chemical Blox into each other, for example, causes a screen-shaking explosion that may or may not knock over other blocks. Explosive Blox are obviously more effective, blowing up automatically on contact.

 Throughout the game, you'll use your Wii remote for various functions. In most of the game's levels, you'll lob balls at blocks on the screen, either with a casual softball throw or a lightning fast pitch. At times, though, you'll grab blocks either to toss them aside or throw them into others. There are also occasional shooting stages, requiring you to hit point blocks with a laser or heave bombs at enemies before they wipe out your otherwise worthless Blox-head army.

 What makes Boom Blox work so well is its interactivity. You're asked to do very little but it means so much in the gameplay department. With a medal-earning system that allows you to unlock various rewards over the course of the game, its set-up is simple yet brilliant. Nail a puzzle in seven or so throws and you'll achieve the easily obtainable bronze medal. Think a little harder and solve it in less, however, and you'll earn a silver or even a gold medal. Occasionally, some puzzles can turn somewhat frustrating, with a limited amount of time or throws in which to solve them. Although you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you beat them, and find yourself desiring more. This game is easily approachable for all ages, making it ideal for both family gatherings and college parties.

 Aside from the stacked single-player modes, a level editor called Create lets you design your own levels. Over the course of the game, you unlock various tools to use in this mode, including particular structures and items. The potential is near limitless, letting you create complex puzzles in a matter of minutes. Better still, you can share them with others locally or transmit them over the WiiConnect 24 service.

 Best of all, there's great multiplayer. You can either take on your friends competitively in a "friendly" round of block knocking or work with them cooperatively, ala Jenga, to get the most points out of a specific puzzle. Obviously, competitive rounds are a lot more fun, as you work to achieve the most points or have the last blocks standing. If the game offered online play through the Wi-Fi Connection, Boom Blox would've possibly gotten a perfect score. Without it, though, it's still outstanding.

 Boom Blox doesn't boast the sharpest presentation, but it really doesn't need it. It goes with a basic presentation, with stacks of blocks that can be viewed from any angle and ridiculous rectangular-shaped animals cheering you on at every turn. There are occasional distractions, such as slowdown and text that occasionally overlaps the point of view, but overall it looks fine. The background music isn't the greatest in the world but it's acceptable. The sound effects, particularly the animal noises and the Wii remote cues, are amusing.

 Bottom line, Spielberg needs to make more games. Boom Blox combines an interesting mix of Jenga, Lincoln Logs, exploding stuff and Wii interactivity that's appropriate for kids, grandparents and even sports-obsessed family members.The ability to make your own customized levels is awesome, an option you should take advantage of even if you suck at building things. These Blox are stacked with potential – don't miss out.


Related Links

Boom Blox Game Guide

Electronic Arts

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