We are living in a golden age of puzzle games; where genres such as the FPS and Puzzler become Portal, while the platformer and puzzle genre become Night Sky. Yes this creative blending of genres have brought about a Puzzle renaissance if you will. So along comes Pixel Block! to try its hand at its own concoction of a challenging puzzle. Hit the jump for the rest of the review.
It looks like Tetris and Galaga combined, and it plays like a shooter. Yeah I’m going to just let that sink in for a bit. Good? Okay because Pixel Blocked! is probably one of the more interesting puzzle games I’ve played recently both in its simplicity of form and difficulty in its challenge.
The player is in control of a top down plane which shoots blocks. With these blocks, the player must finish the challenge which involves filling in the blank spaces to complete an image. To add an extra dimension of difficulty, you can rotate the said image on its axis and thus approach completion via different angles. Yes, there are more ways to solve a puzzle as an oppressive counter will remind you if you use one too many moves than neccessary. The game tallies up the number of moves you make and rewards you (or not) based on how quickly you complete the puzzle in as little moves as possible. When that ticker move into the 40’s and 50’s, you can feel your heart breaking.
To make matters even more challenging (Because it’s a puzzle game that’s why) there are trick blocks thrown in as well. Such blocks as the ones that shatter upon impact, and ones that are magnetic, can either aid or prevent you from completing the puzzle.
So you judge a puzzle based on a few factors. How challenging is it, and is it unfair?
Well its challenging that’s for sure, but there’s a sense that you’re learning with each failure which is key in a good puzzler. Teaching without stating, success through failure, etc. The problem is that sometimes the mechanics from the get go aren’t explained. There’s very little text in the game aside from snarky comments for when you fail so everything you use in the game are things you pick up on your own. It took me awhile to understand what the magnet blocks were when I first encountered them.
All in all however, this game gets the brain working but whether or not it is compelling depends on your enthusiasm for old school puzzle games. I tend to find myself running through the puzzles for completion but I found very little to have me return to old challenges even if it meant that I could get a gold medal instead of a silver.
[+Challenging][+Unique gameplay][-Not very varied][-Couldn’t find it in me to return to past challenges]
There is no story as it’s a series of challenges but that doesn’t mean the game lacks personality. The graphics are charming and there are background images that range from cute and charming to absurd (Ninjas!). I’m not going to lie, the music is fairly average, the art is creative, but aside from the actual gameplay, nothing about this is particularly memorable. It’s not a bad game and it certainly isn’t an uncreative game, but for all intents and purposes, there’s also nothing here that stands out beyond how you play the game.
[+Creative aesthetics][-Nothing else stands out]
Value is probably the most enticing for you and will probably be the deciding factor in whether or not you purchase the game. For $5 (DRM Free) you get over a 180 puzzles on your computer or laptop. If you want a series of puzzles that’ll make you sweat on the go or for those off periods of the day, then 5 dollars isn’t that high of an asking price. If you are however looking for something more than that than I can’t say you’ll be able to find it in Pixel Blocked. It really depends on what sort of puzzle game you’re looking for. For those of you that buy those 6 dollar books of sudoku collections than this game is for you. If you want some meat to your games this is simply not it. Great puzzles, nothing else.
[+For 5 dollars it’s a digital collection of puzzles]
I can recognize quality. This is a quality game and a competent and difficult puzzle game. However there was nothing here beyond the gameplay for me here. It’s cheap enough that you could buy it without feeling like you wasted your money but at the same time this is a tedious game for those of you not seriously into puzzle games. I can’t blame the game for being what it is. It’s an old school puzzle game with a twist. Sadly it’s just not a game for me. With a lack of any particularly impressive details, this game remians a puzzle game and stays a puzzle game.
[+Challenging][+Unique gameplay][+Creative aesthetics][+For 5 dollars it’s a digital collection of puzzles][-Not very varied][-Couldn’t find it in me to return to past challenges][-Nothing else stands out]