iPhone Game Review: Superblox: Powers Unleashed Reviewed by JadeDragon
Puzzle game is one of the most competitive genres on the iPhone and iPod touch. There are many titles to choose from, but many are pedestrian. Once in a while however you get a crowd pleaser that catches your attention and keeps you coming back for more. Superblox: Powers Unleashed falls into this category with an exciting gameplay and eye-catching graphics that seem to generate unlimited replay value.
It's amazing such an addictive game has such a simple gameplay. You control a driving block in a field of different blocks, and you must find three same blocks to mate with your driving block to make a larger complete block. You do this using the accelerometer on your iPhone or iPod touch: just tilt your iDevice to move the driving block around the field, and if the control gets stuck or out of alignment, just hit the recalibrate button on the bottom right corner. While the concept and control are simple, the fun is in the blocks, power-ups and enemies. Among the innocent blocks scattered around the field, lurking around are some dangerous enemies, and in one mode of the game, by contacting with just one of them you will die instantly. These enemies include spikemine, stealthmine, pulsemine, starmine and spidermine, and each of them have their own attacking method. The Spikemine follows you ever so slowly but never far behind; the Starmine works like a slingy that follows you fast, while the Spidermine weaves deadly webs and traps you.
It sounds like you aren?t going last long if you don?t tread carefully, but the good vs. evil battle has a balance: you get power-ups that are as fearless as the dangerous enemies. As soon as your formed a couple of complete blocks, both enemies and power-ups appear among the blocks. The power-ups include score bonus, time bonus (in Beat the Clock mode), explosion orb that blows out everything in sight, a powerful vacuum orb that sucks in anything you go near, ice block orb that turns everything into IceBlok which renders your enemy immobile for a period of time, a star spinner that will mow down anything in its path, and a ball & chain with magnet that will grab anything that matches your building block nearby. These power-ups counter the attacks and the danger of enemy mines, and play a big part in making the gameplay exciting and at times, frantic.
With the stage set for some serious fun, Superblox offers three game modes and each mode has its own objectives and rules. All three game modes are fun, but I find myself playing the game in Sudden Death mode the most. In this mode, you play as long as you can stay alive, collecting blocks and high scores along the way. The game starts out easy, but soon, you are facing as many enemies as your hero blocks in the field. One misstep (touching any enemy mine) it?s sudden death. In Beat the Clock mode, you get a 30 second timer as soon as you start the game. Your goal is to collect as many blocks as possible to get a high score; and only in this mode you get time bonus. If you can collect these little green timers to extend your clock, you can make the play last a lot longer than 30 seconds. In this mode, you don?t die if you happen to hit an enemy, unlike in Sudden Death mode, but you will loose a bit of precious time when the driving block is rematerializing. Hate the pesky mines? Play the only mode in the game that doesn?t have any mines: NY Minute mode. In NY Minute, your goal is just to gather as many blocks as you can, taking in the power-ups along the way to help increase your score. But you don?t get any time extensions: it?s one minute flat, when the time runs out it?s game over.
Graphics & Sound
The eye-catching graphics play as big of a role as the gameplay. Each enemy unit has its own look, so do the blocks. There are currently 6 types of blocks, each block features a very memorable and distinct look: Ramblock looks like a read faced Rambo soldier, Legallyblok is a legally blond, Cheezblok looks like SpongeBob, Blokestein takes after who else? Frankenstein. Then there is the Iceblok and the Shinoblok who is a student of Blok-Jutsu. Wow! Each gameplay mode also has its own background.
The graphics design is as unique as the gameplay, each item stands out on its own, yet everything fits perfectly into a bigger picture. Accelerometer moves smoothly, and the animations are flashy. Superblox has one of the most flashy graphics in a puzzle game yet manages to look simple and easy.
Superblox has orchestra sound tracks that keep it low key, not overwhelming the sound FX. Sound FX pieces on the other hand aren?t shy at all, flying stars, explosions, ice breaking? not your usual layback puzzle sound. Volume controls are available for all sound segments.
Finding a gem in a sea of puzzle games isn?t a small task, but Superblox: Powers Unleashed makes it all worthwhile. The game has an exciting gameplay in all three modes, very nice and creative graphics and excellent sound. It?s a complete package that will keep you coming back for more.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Creative graphics design, sharp and clean. Sound: - 4.5 - Nice music and sound FX package. Controls: - 5 - Not many accelerometer controlled games are easy to play, this game makes it look easy. Gameplay: - 5 - It?s exciting the first time you play it, but that?s only the beginning. You will keep this game on your iDevice for a long time and play it often.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Be patient and keep steady hands. Most mines are beatable as long as you stay cool.
- The slingy starmine is blockable. Just hide behind another block, it will self destruct when it hits the block.
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