Day 122: Blow

Posted: 2011/03/11 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #122, and today’s game is “Blow”.

Blow has you trying to help navigate bubbles from one end of a level to the exit at the end by placing fans at key junctures, and adjusting their power level so that they push each bubble just enough (and not too much) to make it to the end. A little like the all-time classic The Incredible Machine, Blow is a great game for those who enjoy logic puzzles.

First, from the developer:

“Use wind to guide your bubbles safely to the exit. Journey though the magical canopy of the ‘Great Tree’ collecting ‘Flames’ with help from the Faeries. Experience 70 handcrafted levels and infinite procedurally generated levels for endless variety.”

The game adds a few other wrinkles to the game. You can place fans on any part of the environment within the level, but you have a limited number of points to apply. Place a fan set as a strength of 4 and it will cost you four of your points, place a fan set at 2 and it will cost you two of your points, etc. The levels are filled with obstacles that must be avoided, and flowers that act as checkpoints on the way to opening up the exit. Just as you start to get settled into the game and finding the levels pretty easy, suddenly the game throws in wind, hot bubbles (that want to rise), cold bubbles (that want to fall), and more. Add to that the ability to adjust the temperature of the air coming out of the fans, and you have have tremendous ability to tweak your setup each level to get the bubbles to their final destination.

This is one of those games where the mechanics are relatively straightforward, but the permutations nearly endless. And speaking of endless permutations, if you can beat all 70 handcrafted levels, it opens up the aforementioned additional game mode which generates random levels. I like the fact that you can take your time moving your fans around, watching the “ghost” bubbles move around the level showing where the real bubble will go when you finally release it. The music is appropriately subdued for a game where taking your time is expected and rewarded when you finally get everything tweaked perfectly.

For 400 Microsoft Points and near limitless replay value, Blow fits a niche that isn’t well served on Xbox Live Indie Games.

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Comments
  1. Blow was my favorite XBLIG game for a long time. I was really, really impressed with it.

    Such a shame, IMO, that the developer didn’t keep making these sort of games, and went in such a drastically different direction instead.

    • Agreed, on every point. I was actually really shocked to see that Blow was credited to Silver Dollar Games, as they haven’t made a game of Blow’s quality since IMO.

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