Publisher: Open Emotion Studios
Developer: Open Emotion Studios
ESRB rating: Everyone
Release date: Available now
One of the cool things Sony has going for it, is the existence of the PS Minis (which can be found in their online store). Essentially, these are small downloadable diversions that can be played on either your PS3 or PSP. So for those die hard Sony fanboys who grab every piece of tech the company puts out, it’s a nice perk to take one of these pieces of casual fare on the go. Is Mad Blocker Ultra – Revenge of the Fluzzles a remedy for those tired of those pesky Angry Birds? Read on and find out.
Mad Blocker Ultra – Revenge of the Fluzzles (yes, that’s a mouthful) is a standard match four style puzzle game in the vein of Sega’s Columns with a splash of Bejeweled. The main mode has a series of colored blocks descending from the top of the screen, and in the time-honored tradition of Tetris, the goal is to match hues and take down as many like-colored blocks as you can. Skillful execution (and planning) can lead to a cascade of blocks being eliminated, thus driving up your bonus points. As the player progresses through different stages along a map (each offering a new target score), you’ll need to quickly line up your drops as the blocks pick up speed rapidly. Using your Left and Right bumpers, you can shift the order of the blocks to get the right configuration for your drop.
There are three modes of play included. Story Mode offers up different objectives as you work through the map; with some tasking you with a specific score, or time limit in which to eliminate the blocks. Endless Mode throws you on one screen and has you work through the accelerating blocks as you shoot for a higher score. Tower Mode switches things up and has players working to build a tower to the top – with the blocks often foiling your plans by eliminating levels below you.
While the game is well designed and has a nice hand drawn art style, I can’t help but feel I’ve played this before – and often. The influence of Tetris and Columns is clear; and while there is a certain addictive quality innate to this type of puzzle game, I’d already gotten that fix from Tetris two decades ago. Recent years have seen releases like Puzzle Quest append this style of puzzle to an RPG dynamic, thus making it a component in a much grander scheme.
I know this is a modest PSP Mini, but an online competitive mode or leaderboard would have made for a nice option. This title needs something, if not to differentiate it from the pack, to at least keep pace with it. That being said, for cheap money, this is a fairly engaging puzzler. But buyer beware. There are more robust versions of this puzzle type in plentiful supply out there. Your iPhone is probably littered with a dozen clones.
I mentioned the Puzzle Quest series earlier; as I really think that’s the direction these types of games need to move toward. Even quick fix puzzle junkies like to have a little more substance and persistent gaming to hang on to. Mad Blocker Ultra doesn’t approach that title’s level of ingenuity and while it doesn’t make any major missteps, it doesn’t compel me to play further either.