The Wii is known for it’s family friendly casual games – and Boom Blox is another to add to the ever growing list.
At it’s core Boom Blox is a physics based puzzle game. It’s split up into a couple hundred levels of challenging puzzles each of which is based around the same basic gameplay mechanic.
Essentially the game revolves around stacks of blocks that need interacting with to complete whatever challenge has beenset for you.
The tasks are the interesting part – in fact I am amazed at how much variety there is in something which should be so simple. There are levels that play like Jenga, where you have to remove bricks without toppling the structure – and there are levels where you HAVE to knock everything down. There are more levels that play like light gun games (clay pigeon shooting stylee) and there are others where you have to clear a path for cute boxy animals to get from one point to another… and that’s not the end of it
The controls are one of the most impressive parts of the game. The interaction is very simple and literally anybody can get playing almost instantly. Most of the game types boil down to pointing the wiimote at something and pressing a button – but there’s a physicality to proceedings that make you feel like you’re actually throwing the bowling ball at the tower of randomly placed blocks – and not just pointing and flicking a remote at the tv.
Boom Blox is a party game through and through. Due to the straight forward controls it’s perfect for families to get together and play. Unfortunately, much like Mario Party, it’s the sort of game that is most fun when you’re playing with others. There are single player levels but if you don’t have friends to play with then you will miss out on many of the best elements.
As well as the standard “play the levels” gameplay there is an integrated level editor which gives you the opportunity to generate any environment you could wish for. This has given rise to some epic creativity with people doing the standard gamer thing of recreating old games within new ones.
I don’t know how many people realise this but Boom Blox is actually a game developed by Stephen Spielberg (or rather produced by him). This makes a change from his normal historically driven war games (Medal of Honor) and his story based adventure games (The Dig) but it seems he wanted to make a game more suitable for his kids to enjoy.
This review is actually a touch late – the sequel has now been announced and it sounds like it will improve in a variety of areas adding many more levels and some new blocks to the mix – but being late also means the game is now cheaper than ever and you can pick it up to get some practice in before the new one is released. Hopefully the sequel will be a bigger commercial success as I think there’s a lot of potential in the series… a Nintendo DS version would be good too!