Bloxitivity Review

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Platform: PC (Steam)
Developer: 55 Revolver
Publisher: Degica

The first thing I thought about when I saw the title for Bloxitivity was Boom Blox on the the Wii. Apart from the “blox”, they share almost nothing in common. Bloxitivity is a first-person puzzle game where the task of each level is to move coloured blocks onto the corresponding goal.  Boom Blox is what happens when rage-quiting Jenga is used as a concept for a video game.

Bloxitivity seems designed with simplicity in mind. The design is minimalistic in almost every way. The blocks and their corresponding goals are the only colourful part of any stage. The rest are mixes of light blues, greys or shades. The glowing teleporters are the only other objects that distinguish themselves in the environment. The gameplay too is designed to be simple. The small character you control can use a beam to pull blocks, push blocks and jump. Although the levels are fully 3D, the blocks can only be moved on two axes.

As mentioned, the task of each level is to get coloured blocks onto their corresponding goals. This is complicated by the space in which to move, distance and later by teleporters and tetra which are pyramid shaped enemies. There are also movable and immovable blocks which get in the way as well as the boundaries of any level. Accidentally pushing a block off a stage or moving blocks in such a way that permanently prevents you from moving a block to its goal will require a restart. The problem is that this often isn’t clear straight away, which in my experience saw me get to what I thought was the end of the stage until I realised it was impossible. If your character falls out of the stage or is hit too many times by a tetra, this will end the stage but the former is more frequent and you will have to discover it for yourself.

The game begins with first-person as default but you have three camera options including an overhead view. I initially went with the first-person view but soon found myself using the overhead view almost exclusively. It just gives a much better view of the puzzle and is especially important when dealing with teleporters and tetra enemies. It also makes it easier to distinguish the colour blocks as the lighting often makes that difficult. This is especially true of the green and yellow blocks which look almost the same at some angles.

I so much preferred this view that I wondered why it had the first-person view at all. It isn’t just the view of the stage that had me thinking this. You can jump over and on top of blocks in the stage but you are unable to freely aim your beam on a vertical plane, even at the enemies. Along with this, you can not move blocks anywhere but on the plane you are standing on. The controls don’t help as they are awkward and unresponsive and in a puzzler like this, I’d expect smooth movement. I did get used to it but it took both time and a change of camera angles.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of Bloxitivity is the ability for users to design their own levels that can be uploaded to the Steam Workshop. At the time of writing, the workshop was unavailable but I did try and make my own levels. This aspect of the game deserves genuine praise as it is very easy to use and everything is available to use from the beginning. It is also easy to try out a level and come back to change areas that don\’t work. The game comes with 25 official levels which take anywhere from seconds to many minutes but user-created content is a big part of Bloxitivity.

At the time of writing, I am unable to judge what users may bring to the game. For my part, the levels where blocks needed to be moved significant distances were tedious. The levels where less, more thoughtful moves had to be made were the most fun. The enemies and teleporters are especially more irritating than anything.

Bloxitivity at the very least has a great concept and it remains to be seen what players will make of it. Judged on its own, it has sluggish and restrictive controls that don’t fit the environment. I actually feel the game would have been much better if it were designed in the perspective of traditional Bomberman games. As it is, Bloxitivity has a great soundtrack and an easy to use level creator. With some tweaks to the gameplay and an enthusiastic community, it could get much better but that remains to be seen.

Disclosure: A review copy of Bloxitivity was provided by the developer.

2 Stars

January, 2016

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