Every once in a while, a game comes along that truly blows up in popularity. A great recent example of this is the Flappy Bird game that became unbelievably popular on iPhones and other smartphones. The key ingredients that all these games have in common, before they become insanely popular, is that they all generally seem really simple, to use Flappy Bird again, all you had to do was get the bird through the gaps in the pipes, but they are also incredibly difficult to master, and incredibly frustrating. When you have these two components you have the makings of a great game.
There is a new game that certainly meets the criteria of seeming simple, but in actually fact being extremely frustrating, where you will die many times, and struggle with what seems like the simplest of levels. It is called Bloxorz, and it is going to dominate your life in the near future, because there is no way that you do not become addicted to this game. The premise is simple, you have block that you have to navigate across squares, and eventually deposit your block in a hole to move onto the next level. Sounds simple? In reality it is much more than that.
If there were two words to describe Bloxorz, they would be addictive, and frustrating. No matter how many times you die, you will keep coming back for more. They say the simplest games are the best, and that is certainly proven with this game. The entire game is based around four controls, the up, down, left and right arrows, and the only objective is to get the block that you control, into the hole, by moving it across the squares. That is the entire game.
The block that you control can either be moved on its ends, by pressing the up and down arrows, or on its side, as controlled by the left and right arrows. Some squares that you have to get across are too thin to go on your side, and some can only be crossed on the side. There are orange squares which can only be crossed with the block on its side. There are even switches, which you must press to lower, or raise bridges that will allow you to cross to get your block towards the hole. There are transporting switches too, which will move your block to another part of the board.
Each level gets progressively harder, and even the ones that look simple are in actual fact, quite difficult. There are times when you will have to double back on yourself, when you will die 20 times before you figure out the way to the hole. There will be times when you think you’ve got it, only to see you block fall over the hole, and not into it.
One of the great things about Bloxorz is that when you die, and you will die often, you are not immediately sent back to the start of the game. Even if you die repeatedly, you are still not sent back to the first level. Whenever you die you are sent to the start of the level you are currently on, so you can take as many times as you need to complete the level you are on. This is much better than having to work your way through 30 stages every time you die.
This is a fantastic game, that will have you addicted from the first level, and you won’t stop until you have completed every one of the 33 levels, no matter how many times you cringe when you see the block fall over the side to its death.
Once you load up the screen, you are presented with only a few options, emphasizing the simplicity of this game. Unless you want to turn the sound off, you need to press ‘Start New Game’.
You are then taken through a quick 9 page tutorial which shows you how to play the game, the only controls you need are up, down, left & right. There are two buttons/switches, the circular ones just require you to place any part of the block on them, the cross switches require the ends of the block, so it must be upright. It also tells you that orange blocks are fragile, and the block must be on its side otherwise it will collapse. There is also a final switch that looks like this (), this will transport your block. After you have made it through the tutorial you reach the first level.
Stage one is relatively simple, at least compared to what is to come over the 32 subsequent levels. When you first see it looks simple, and you think that you will have it done in one go. Unfortunately it isn’t that simple, and it will probably take three or four tries before you manage to get it. Just when you think you have finally got it, you end up over the hole rather than going through it. You have to do some impressive maneuvers before you can slot your block in the hole.
Stage 2 introduces the various buttons that are available to press, which either create, or destroy, bridges along the route. There are three platforms, and you must press the two switches/buttons to activate the bridges, and try not to fall off.
The third level looks simpler than any of them, but it isn’t. It requires a lot of tricky manouvering, and it will probably take quite a few tries and falling to your blocks death before you get anywhere near inserting the block into the hole.
Level 4 is notable because it introduces the orange squares for the first time. These squares can only be passed if your block in on its side. If your block is on its ends the orange squares will collapse, and you block will fall to its death. You can be caught out by this on this level as you think everything is going well till you realize you have forgotten this rule and you block ends up on falling because you have put it on its end, and the orange squares are too weak to support it. Once you realize the use of the single grey square in the middle of the orange blocks, you will have figured out how to pass this level.
The fifth level involves more bridges, and for the first time the x switch, which can only be accessed on its side becomes an issue, it was in an earlier level but the only way to hit it was with the block on its end. With this level you can hit it with the block on its side, then spend a minute wondering why it isn’t working before remembering you must be on the end.
Once I hit level 6 the challenge really started to hit. You are presented with a seemingly impossible way of getting your block across to the hole. In the end it requires going the complete opposite way and then doubling back on yourself after doing some maneuvers at the other end of the board. It can take some time to figure out, but once you have it is extremely satisfying, of course you can always fall off before the hole and forget how you got there in the first place, which makes it even more frustrating, but you have to keep going until you get it in the hole, and then you can move onto level 6. Which is even harder.
Each level keeps getting progressively harder, with more buttons to press, more doubling back, and more seemingly impossible ways to get the block into the hole. There are 33 levels in total, and with each one being that little bit harder, it is going to take a lot of anger, fury, and satisfaction when you finally get the block in the hole, before you have completed the entire game and can say that you have beaten Bloxorz.
Hours of frustration lie ahead for you if you choose to play Bloxorz, but this game has the same draw and addictiveness of every great flash game, and mobile game, that you have played, and that has sucked hours out of your life. So give it a go, and become embroiled in the world of your block, and get that block in the hole.