Move aside Wii Sports, Boom Blox is fifteen times more likely to result in a controller hitting your TV screen. While Wii Bowling required underhand swing, Boom Blox mimics throwing actions and encourages you to put some force into it. I saw my flatmates doing the old ‘double handed overhead throw’.
Boom Blox is essentially a puzzle game with an emphasis on physics. Levels are made up of stacks of blox… err blocks which you either have to knock over or keep upright. There are a few different level types, but usually you either throw objects at the blocks, knocking over as many as you can, or remove blocks without the whole lot falling down. Of course it’s not quite that simple: bomb blocks and chemical reaction blocks have to either be avoided or utilised too.
Finally getting past a level that you have been stuck on - or even better, completing a level more efficiently than your last attempt - is very satisfying indeed. What can sometimes be even more fun though is just throwing blocks around the level, squashing the all too cute spectators. Often you have to collapse towers without knocking said cute characters off the top of the pile. Is it wrong to spend more time seeing if I can knock them off and get the entire tower to crush them?
Unfortunately it’s not all fun and games. With so many variants of the game play, some levels are better than others. Personally I found levels where you have to protect your gem blocks by hiffing bombs at enemies tedious. I also had to whiz through a huge amount of the game before I started being presented with real challenges.
Any such weaknesses in the game are countered by the brilliant level tool. Sure, figuring out some of the puzzles in the game can be satisfying, but making your own is even better. The editor is pretty simple and lets you jump in straight away. With a bit of imagination, you can make some huge chain reactions – think the Incredible Machine. Playing through the normal game unlocks more toys to place in your creations.
Controls make or break a game. Thankfully here it’s the former. Boom Blox is really a showcase of what the Wii-mote can really do when developers embrace the controller instead of just adding ‘waggle’. Controls are as precise as they need to be when sliding blocks out of a tower without upsetting the whole structure. You can slide blocks out slowly or quickly and at the angle you want. Throwing items is of course a lot of fun too…
Despite the sickeningly cute presentation and naff music, it’s not hard to recommend this game to Wii owners. Boom Blox is one of those games that’s really easy to pick up but very hard to put back down. I also guarantee you that anyone that walks past will stop what they are doing to watch you play before demanding a turn themselves.