Boom Blox Bash Party Review
When EA announced back in 2007 that they would be working alongside Steven Spielberg to create an exclusive title for the Wii, many were hoping for something along the lines of his previous jaunt into the video gaming world, Medal of Honor. What we got was a true blockbuster, just in more of a literal sense. It was a bit of a surprise when EA revealed Boom Blox, an action-oriented puzzle game that looked like a strange mixture of Jenga and Breakout, with crazy physics and a mad, colourful graphical style.
The game was warmly received by critics and although it didn’t perform amazingly at retail at launch, word of mouth and a ‘long tail’ sales performance meant it has been deemed popular enough to get a sequel, Boom Blox Bash Party.
If you never got to play the first game (and shame on you if you didn’t pick it up) the game revolved around several play styles featuring simple block shapes in 3D environments. Some levels required you to pull blocks out of a tower or similar construction without toppling it (like Jenga); in others you had to hurl projectiles to destroy piles of blocks in as few throws as possible.
The level of invention and variety of puzzles rivalled even some of the work Nintendo are known for and created a challenging title hardcore players could really get their teeth into. On the other hand the colourful graphics, simple controls and spot-on physics meant it really was a game that anyone could enjoy, just as Spielberg envisioned. And getting several friends together for co-op or competitive play made Boom Blox a worthy addition to any multiplayer party.
The sheer variety of modes made the original of the most addictive and freshest puzzlers in years and while this sequel doesn’t quite have the same brand new feel, the extra modes and general polish means it manages to wrestle the title of best puzzle game on Wii from its predecessor. The original had a wealth of levels to work through, over 300 in fact, and this has been surpassed with over 400 this time around, plus the addition of downloadable levels from EA. Then there’s the return of the level editor, allowing you to create and send levels to friends. Unlocking achievements in the single player games gives you more items to play with in the editor, making the two modes work closer together. And again, working to get gold medals on each level or beating yours or a friend’s score is very addictive. All in all this gives Bash Party the kind of longevity most games dream of.
The graphics and general presentation have also been given an update. Blocks look that little bit shinier and there’s noticeably less slowdown (one of the few negative points surrounding the original) on levels involving lots of explosions and physics-heavy puzzles, even despite the grander levels. Backgrounds have also been spruced up, and environments now include underwater and space themed levels, with suitably adjusted physics. While it won’t rival action games for looks, the general playful, cartoon style does make this one of the nicest looking puzzlers on the market.
This sequel retains all the popular elements of the first game while adding plenty of new modes of its own. And although this feels like more of an add-on pack than a major sequel, it is definitely a must-have, even if you do own the original – if you don’t then you really have no excuse not to get this. If you’re one of those gamers who turn their nose up at any game that’s not a space/war FPS and think you’re too ‘hardcore’ to play this, we suggest you get yourself a more mature outlook on life. Buy Boom Blox, and let yourself have a lot of fun.