Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jenga on Steroids

In his first video game venture since the notoriously horrific Atari version of ET, Steven Spielberg has taken everything fun about building blocks, and added a buncha stuff to knock them down with. I'll bet the creative process went something like this:

Spielberg: Ok, lemme see... video games, video games... ok, so what does everyone love to do... um, lemme see... break stuff! Yeah, yeah, that's good... ok, so like, blocks or something... yeah, all the kids love blocks... how about... blocks that explode... or maybe blocks that go bang, or something... I like it... yeah... exploding bricks, or something... I'll need to get the writers in here to think of a name for me...

And after several long meetings by the creative minds at EA, Boom Blox was born. It takes everything fun about Jenga (namely, making things fall down), and adds (what else) explosives, to create a fantastic mix of puzzle and destruction elements.

There are many different types of levels in Boom Blox. Some require you to knock down a tower or castle of blocks in a limited number of throws, by swinging the Wii remote and throwing at the right time. In some levels, you throw baseballs or bowling balls. In others, you use laser guns or fire hoses.

In the Story Mode, you help a certain type of block shaped animal complete some sort of goal. For example, you might help Gorilda the Gorilla find her way to her babies by moving obstacles out of the way. Other levels require you to save a bunch of trick-or-treating cats from ghouls and ghosts.

The game's more than 300 levels will keep you occupied for a very long time, especially, if you want to get gold on every level (which requires some extreme skill and luck, in some cases). When I first started the game, I played it for 6 1/2 hours straight, resulting in some seriously strained bicep and wrist muscles. But it was all worth it. I just had to knock down one more tower!

Not only does the game boast engaging 1-player levels, the multiplayer mode is great fun, too. Up to 4 players can cooperate or compete in pulling as many blocks as possible from a shaky tower, or seeing who can blow up the most bricks with one bomb.

And as if the game didn't have enough to offer already, it comes with a level editor. And not only can you create your own levels, you can edit any unlocked level in the game. Truly, it's a game with endless potential.

Even though the game is not perfect (some levels are ridiculously difficult, and some, not fun at all), the structure of the game is so well done, and the physics so perfect, that it simply cannot be put down.

In short, the game is fun for all ages. I mean seriously, who can resist blowing up towers of blocks, with the promise that you never have to pick up after yourself. That in and of itself deserves recognition.

The game has earned a Blatantly Biased:

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Hehe, "Jenga on Steroids", that makes me giggle :) We should play some of the two player levels in this. It's a really fun game, I'm glad you got it :D I wuv you!