October 2, 2014

App Review: Puzzle Blox

puzzle-classic2For me, puzzle games are the best.  Whether it involves shapes, bubbles or words, I just dig them.  I’ve wasted plenty of time with the Final Fantasy series, I know the Mario Brothers all too well and the last time my brother was in town we had a marathon Wii Punch-Out series that lasted until about 5:00 a.m.  Yet, there is just a self-challenging aspect to puzzles that keep me coming back for more.  Luckily for me, I have been introduced to a fantastic game for the Android platform: Puzzle Blox.

Puzzle Blox is along the same vein as Tetris or Bubble Breaker, but with a great twist!  The goal is to clear colored blocks in groups of three or more (higher points for more) and the twist is that you can shift them left, right, up or down by rotating your phone in the desired direction.  The game offers three basic modes:

  • Arcade!:  a fast paced continuous game, clear blocks while new blocks spawn, game ends when you run out of space
  • Puzzle: clear out all of the blocks to advance levels, includes obstacles to avoid
  • Challenge: series of levels with different goals; clear all blocks, clear within a set time or number of moves and more

I enjoyed all three and each are different enough in strategy that its like having three separate games.  Within puzzle mode, you can also select level of difficulty; easy, medium, hard or expert.  It also tracks your high scores in each mode and allows you to post them on the global leader board (I am 8th for Arcade! if you were wondering).

In addition to being a great game, the graphics and user interface are top notch.  There is haptic feedback for the blocks shifting about and the animations are well executed.  Besides the standard blocks, you can select from three other themes; Forms, Aztec or Retro (and a Halloween theme which will be available on the 31st!).  There is also an option to have it grab random pictures from your gallery as the background image.  Navigating the options, modes and other aspects are very intuitive.

As much as I like this game, it is not perfect.  There were a few things that I will have to file under ‘cons’.  Reaction time for shifting was a bit slow, I found it frustrating that it couldn’t keep up, which at times meant thwarted moves by newly spawned blocks.  For the most part, the touch response was fine for clearing blocks, but I did run into the occasional need to double or triple tap a set to get it to register.  In the options you can calibrate the accelerometer and increase the sensitivity, which greatly improves the responsiveness and I would greatly encourage as prior to doing this, my reaction to the game was pretty dismal with the default settings.

Overall, I would highly recommend the game.  It is fun, challenging, polished and a great use of the Android platform.  With my predisposition for puzzle and phone games, I decided to test it’s universal appeal and ran it through my “wife test” (my wife is not a big fan of video or phone games) and it passed with flying colors; didn’t get my phone back for a couple of hours and even then only because I got a call.  The cons listed are annoyances, but are far out weighed by the enjoyment of the game.

A version of Puzzle Blox is available in the Android Market currently for €2.95 (roughly $4.30 in USD) or there is a lite version available for free.  However, on October 31st, the developer is releasing this version of the game with all the features and modes listed here and will be available at a 66% discount, or €.99, for October 31st and November 1st only!!!  Current users will be upgraded and continue to get free updates (features, levels, etc) but the lite version will be replaced with a free version of the full Arcade! mode and limited puzzle levels.  Please visit the developer’s, André Rabold, website or the game’s fan page on Facebook for more information.

Puzzle Blox Lite

Puzzle Blox Lite

Puzzle Blox €2.95

Puzzle Blox €2.95

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