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Boom Blox

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Written by DM on Tuesday, June 10 2008

When it was announced that Steven Spielberg was going to be working on several games with EA, gamers released a collective sigh. Usually when big names start sticking their noses into gaming, the result is mediocre, at best. Well, I am happy to report that, at least for this first collaborative title, the norm does not hold true. Believe it or not, Boom Blox is a fun puzzle that takes a cue from that most classic of analog puzzle games, Jenga.

In Boom Blox, the idea is to either destroy, disassemble, rearrange, or totally obliterate the structures set before you. You do this using projectiles that you are given to throw. The Wiimote is perfect for this type of throwing action, and you can easily control where and how hard objects are hurled. Baseballs, bowling balls, exploding bombs, and more, become unlocked as you progress through the game. The game then calculates the strength of the toss and makes the on-screen structure react accordingly. That is pretty much it for Boom Blox, which is why almost anyone can pick up the Wiimote and have a great time with the title.

One thing that is certainly noteworthy in Boom Blox is the fantastic job that the developers have done when it came to replicating real-world physics. The way the towers crumble and fall when you hit them with your projectiles is truly impressive. You can really imagine that the structure is in front of you, and when you remove one of the “master blocks,” as I call them, the structure will fall. It does not end there, though.

There are times in the game where you are not throwing projectiles, but where you are given one of those “sticky jelly” hands. That is the best way I can describe it, but it is the game’s equivalent of a real hand that can reach to pull out blocks. Now, in order to accommodate this “grabbing hand,” the game has to be able to recognize just how hard and fast blocks are removed from the structure. For instance, if you use the grabbing hand and quickly pull out a block without disturbing much else (think pulling a tablecloth out without disturbing the place settings), then the structure will likely not react at all, or maybe give a tiny wobble. Now, if you pull out the same piece slowly, and you knock into 5 other pieces along the way, then you may not have a structure left after you finish the pull. The way the game’s physics makes every single move you make unique is truly a great thing. I cannot praise it enough.

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