Monkeys. In cowboy hats. With big moustaches. Isn't that enough to earn Boom Blox a Gold Award? We reckon so, but thankfully EA's collaboration with Steven Spielberg to develop a decidedly casual puzzle game warrants one anyway, whether it has monkey bandits or not. While there's no denying that Boom Blox is about as casual as puzzle games get, it's still the kind of game that proper gamers can get into too. Indeed, there's a whole level of depth here that most casual players won't even dream of dipping their toes in, leaving a vast ripple-free pool of creative freedom for the more hardcore element to dive straight into.
New Kid On The Blox
Although it's based around six different concepts, Boom Blox is nothing if not accessible - you simply point the Remote, hold down A and then either throw or move to perform an action. The trick, however, is knowing where and when to do such actions and with over 300 levels split into varying difficulties, working that out takes a long while.
Knocking Gem Blox off their perches in the least number of throws, pulling out Point Blox without upsetting their point-stealing brethren (ala Jenga, but in a way that actually works on Wii), setting off chain reactions of Bomb Blox and more besides; each concept plays host to its own range of levels, and each requires its own thought-provoking approach.
Not surprisingly, it's all about strategy. Sure, you can clear most of the levels if you just pummel away at them with repeated throws or just yank blocks until they come crashing down, but that won't net you the gold medals. And trust us, you'll want the gold medals. Not just for your own self-satisfaction, but also because getting them earns you more tools, parts and characters for the Create Mode. It's this approach, this constant demand for self-improvement, that drives Boom Blox forward and makes it not only loads of fun but also much deeper than its casual stylings would have you believe.
Blox Rockin' Beats
There's much more too. For instance, the Create Mode, with its option to either make a level from scratch or edit existing ones and then share them over Wi-Fi with your friends, is where we suspect most hardened gamers will get their kicks. The 24 multiplayer modes (each offering their own array of levels) are nearly all great, particularly the competitive ones that see you throw, blast, grab and attack each other with all manner of blocks.
In fact, it's only the Adventure mode, creatively directed by Spielberg himself and offering 12 unique styles of gameplay, that throws up a red flag purely because the final ghost-themed quarter is rather weak and not as fun as what comes before it.
However, when three slightly lacking game styles are only a small portion of the overall package, it's easier to overlook the weaknesses in favour of the strengths. As an example of how a vaguely familiar idea can be turned into something unique and interesting, Boom Blox succeeds massively. As providing a community for exchanging new levels and ideas develops, we can see this one lasting for a long time.