In case you haven't played the original Boom Blox before, let us quickly bring you up to speed. It's awesome. Okay, job done. So what's Bash Party all about?
Well, EA and Steven Spielberg have joined forces once again for a sequel offering the same sort of thing, only with more levels, more environments, more modes and more gameplay modifiers. Does this make it even more awesome? You bet your little block-shaped boxers it does. In fact, it even makes us want to use the word 'awesomer', even though we know in our hearts that the word doesn't really exist.
The standard concept remains the same. In each level you're presented with a load of blocks which have been set up, stacked and placed together in a certain way. They could be laid out as a wall, or a tower, or some sort of intricate castle shape. It's up to you to perform various tasks by chucking balls at the blocks to knock them over. At least, that's the basic idea. In reality there's much, much more to it than that.
Block Rocking Treats
For starters, there's a huge range of different level objectives throughout the game. Some stages have you trying to drop gems on the floor in as few throws as possible, others see you trying to drop certain points blocks while keeping negative points blocks stacked, while others see you trying to trigger new virus blocks which cause an infection to spread to blocks near it, making them disappear. Think swine flu mixed with Jenga. #
As before, you're no longer simply limited to chucking basic balls. You have a wide variety of different tools at your disposal. For example, you can lob bowling balls instead which do much more damage, or the hand tool will let you grab blocks and pluck them out Jenga-style.
Where it starts to differ over the original is with the new methods available to you. For example, some levels have a cannon which you can light and aim to blast cannonballs at certain areas. Then there are virus balls, which infect the aforementioned virus blocks and spread their block-dissolving illness.
There are also paintballs, which feature in one of our favourite new game modes. Basically, the blocks are placed in some sort of large container and you have to use paintballs to change their colour. If you can make three of the same colour touch each other they'll disappear, making the blocks on top of them fall down, potentially triggering combos. The whole 'match three' concept has been in gaming for longer than many of you have even been alive, but it's not often that it's done with real physics and it genuinely makes things feel fresh and less predictable.
So far so ball-shaped, but as with the hand tool in the original game, your arsenal extends beyond spheres of doom. The new catapult tool lets you grab any block or character in the stage, pull back on the Remote and let go of the A button to twang it in the direction you choose. As you'd expect, this completely changes the gameplay, though if we're being honest it's not quite as satisfying as physically making a throwing motion and seeing the resulting chaos your lob creates. That's only our preference though. The great thing about Bash Party is that there's plenty of modes to choose from and everyone will find their own favourite.
Do It Yourself
This is where Bash Party's biggest new feature - downloadable levels - comes into its own. The original game had a level creator, but once you'd finished your masterpiece you could only either save it to your Wii or send them to the people in your Wii's address book. And let's face it, hardly anyone did that. Now you can upload it to EA's servers where anyone in the world can download it by simply going to their favourite category and choosing the option to download more levels. This effectively makes the game endless. As long as people continue to make new stages (and EA has told us it'll be adding its own new levels on a regular basis too) then you can never truly say you've played everything Boom Blox has to offer. When all's said and done, Bash Party is essentially Boom Blox with everything improved and built upon. It's got more levels, more tools, more environments (the underwater and space levels really mess with the physics in an interesting way), more game modes and much more online potential. Simply put, it's essential, even if you have the original.