Day 185: Bloom*Block

Posted: 2011/05/13 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) 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 #185, and today’s game is “Bloom*Block”.

The first thing Bloom*Block reminded me of was the classic game Q*Bert, an early puzzle game where you had to guide a character around an isometric viewpoint grid and every time you jumped on a space you would “paint” it. Bloom*Block has that same mechanic but with much more level variety, and Bloom*Block will not let you jump on the same space twice (something you only had to worry about in the more advanced levels of Q*Bert). Thirty years later Q*Bert and Q*Bert has not achieved the same legendary status of games such as Asteroids and Pac Man, but it was still a game that I loved and Bloom*Block scratched much the same itch for me, despite several changes that make Bloom*Block undeniably the better game.

First, from the developer (DoeraiGames):

“Let’s bloom flower with Popo! This is a greening 3d puzzle. Rules are simple. The game is cleared if flowers can blossom in the faces of all blocks. It is a failure when stepping on the same face twice. When it is a little action frequency, it is a high score. Let’s play Bloom*Block!”

The game looks deceptively simple on the outside looking in, and the first few levels of the trial game are indeed pretty straightforward. As the play surface you have to navigate around (remembering that you cannot step on the same block face twice) gets more complex, so too does the game. You must keep rotating the playfield in three dimensions to suss out a viable path around the entire surface, and one wonders if this game inspired recent XBLA game “Ilomilo” which has some (at least) superficial similarities to Bloom*Block.

The 3D presentation is a nice change for the XBLIG channel, which is normally known for its 2D games. The package has a bit of a kiddie look to it, but there’s nothing kiddie to the gameplay as it can be quite challenging at times.

Bloom*Block has a Story Mode which is, thankfully, more charming and less annoying than the ridiculous stories you often get in puzzle games (I’m looking at you Tetris Worlds, and your ludicrous backstory about traveling the galaxy saving “tetriminos”), as well as a Challenge Mode that has you sussing out puzzles story-free. It also has pseudo-achievements, called “badges” here, that extend replay value somewhat.

This game was originally 240 Microsoft Points, but these days clocks in at only 80 MSP and is well worth that. Definitely worth a look for puzzle fans, and as you get into the harder puzzles (locked away from view in the free trial) know that you’re facing a challenge that will cause many a level refresh before you get it right.

Click here to download “Bloom*Block”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.

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