Day 354: Blocks That Matter

Posted: 2011/10/31 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 #354, and today’s game is “Blocks That Matter”.

Blocks That Matter is a puzzle/platform game where your character, a driller ‘bot, explores underground areas trying to save its creator. Your robot can drill into blocks, collect their constituent parts, and form them into new blocks. This opens up interesting new worlds of puzzles and platforming, and earned Blocks That Matter top prize in the 2011 Dream.Build.Play contest (and its developers a contract with Microsoft to create an XBLA game in the future… and $40K dollars). This game deserves all that and more.

First, from the developer (Swing Swing Submarine):

“Combine your platforming and puzzle-solving skills in this incredible mashup! Playing as the Tetrobot, you can collect blocks of matter, recycle them into new shapes and trigger chain reactions. Contains 100% natural Slime extract.”

Blocks That Matter costs 240 Microsoft Points. For those waiting for a price drop, know that 240 points is the lowest price it can be offered at since the game’s file size is larger than what is allowed for 80 MSP games. But that’s OK, it’s a much better game than a host of 800 and 1200 point XBLA games, and the PC and Mac versions on Steam cost $5, significantly more than the XBLIG version. Blocks That Matter is an absolute must try for platformer fans.

The game has a wide variety of blocks, with different properties for each. As you collect materials you get to reform them into blocks which will let you get past obstacles, reach otherwise inaccessible areas, and even defeat enemies. You can’t drill through every material at the start, but power-ups collected through the game let you drill through them one by one. One nice touch is that it has “new game+” which lets you play through the game again with your fully powered-up ‘bot; more than just a romp through the levels, it actually lets you approach them differently and discover new challenges along these new routes.

Hidden in the levels are the titular “blocks that matter” which open unlockables, among other rewards the developers hid in the game. The level of care put into it is huge, and I heartily recommend it.

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