There’s been an influx in the past few years of what I call the “small-scale puzzle game”. Basically, you’re presented with a board, grid, or another form of a brief map. The idea is to move or navigate around objects in order to reach an exit or goal.
Classics of the genre have been around in physical form for decades; who doesn’t remember those plastic “tangram” cutouts? Now in the virtual age, this type of game is being cut and pressed within a highly competitive market.
Enter the product featured in this review: Bloxitivity, developed by 55 Revolver and published by Degica. In this puzzler, you must slide giant blocks of a given color onto floor tiles of matching color. Simple? No. First of all, you don’t have a lot of room to work. The floor is in the form of a floating island. One wrong step and you’ll stumble into the water; restart the level. Get too aggressive and you’ll inadvertently push a colored block into the water; restart the level. Lose concentration and you’ll leave a colored block stranded from its target; restart the level. You get the idea.
The first level is easy enough. I was able to finish it in less than a minute. But from there the game gets tricky. You’re constantly rubbing shoulders with these big blocks and it’s easy to make some sort of mistake. Here is a quick tip: use your jump button! Yes, you can actually climb onto a block and drop back to the floor on the other side. Your left mouse button pushes the block away from you and the right mouse button pulls the block toward you.
On some maps you’ll encounter “neutral” blocks that are white, or some other color with no matching floor tile. So far I’ve not seen a real purpose for these, other than as scout points on which to jump. Simply move them out of the way or dump them into the water. This lets you blaze a trail for the other blocks. In addition to neutral blocks, the game contains other ambient features. Various weather and lighting effects provide a nice change as you progress through maps of ever-increasing difficulty.
If this were the whole story, Bloxitivity would be a fine casual puzzle. But wait, there’s more! Perhaps the biggest selling point in the game is the map editor and designer. Here you are free to place blocks and floor tiles anywhere you want, and publish new puzzles for other players to try out. You even have advanced obstacles and teleports at your disposal for added creativity. Of course, you’ll have to run through your own map once to prove that it can actually be solved. You’re not allowed to publish an impossible design!
So is Bloxitivity worth it? Yes, it is. The game officially releases on January 21, 2016, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the challenge of casual puzzles; as both a consumer and designer!
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