Blocks That Matter
August 8, 2011 9 Comments
UPDATE: Blocks that Matter is now 80 Microsoft Points.
Blocks That Matter is a logic-puzzle game where you control a robot that looks like a washing machine mated with Grounder from The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Christ, that’s an obscure reference. Using the robot you must drill up blocks which are added to your inventory. You then use those blocks by pausing the game and placing them in grids of four onto the screen. You hop along on them until you reach the exit for a stage.
Combining a platformer with a puzzler is always a huge risk. An element belonging to either genre being off-tune can sink the entire experience. In the case of Blocks That Matter, everything is finely tuned and well implemented. The controls are very tight and the jumping physics are near flawless. The puzzle elements are clever and brainy but not impossible or frustrating. The end result is one of the best games on the indie marketplace.
It took me about three hours to finish Blocks That Matter and it was one of the more pleasant experiences I’ve had with Xbox Live Indie Games. Key to that was the bat shit insane storyline about two game developers. Sure, it was a little bit “inside” but the dialog and characters were so sickeningly charming that I had to press on to see what crazy dribble they would spit out next. And it was totally worth it. The funny thing is I could see these two guys starring in more games, Harold & Kumar style.
Another reason to keep playing is the unlockable content. Every stage has a treasure chest in it, and drilling it gifts you with a block from a classic video game. I admit, I wanted those chests to see what game they would pay tribute to next. But the developers of Blocks That Matter should beware. One of the block awards that you unlock is the question mark block from Super Mario Bros. And I mean it is the block. It’s even identified as being from Super Mario Bros on the NES. It seems like shaking the hornet’s nest to me. Nintendo is a company that has sued people over fan art. They’ve sued people for listing their products as hobbies in porn website profiles. How do you think they will react to having one of their trademarks appear in a game on the Xbox 360? This could end badly. I’m talking locked in a closet and forced to play Urban Champion for months on end badly.
I only have a one nit-picky complaint towards Blocks That Matter: I found the music to be really annoying. It’s clicky and chirpy, like listening to a school of dolphins. Very grating, like getting your ears cleaned out by a rusty SOS pad. I should note that my boyfriend didn’t mind it at all, so maybe it’s just me. But that’s just a really minor quibble. Blocks That Matter is one of the best things you can do with 240MSP. It’s endearing, smart, well designed, and genuinely a lot of fun.
I wonder what is next for this studio? Maybe a shooting game. They could call it “Glocks That Matter.” Or how about a herding game called “Flocks That Matter.” Or a game starring a giant watch called “Clocks That Matter.” I’ll stop now.
Blocks That Matter was dev..
Wait! I got another one. A game about an obsessive security guard called “Locks That Matter.” Okay now I’m done.
240 Microsoft Points were accused of being slanderous towards Swing Swing Submarine in the making of this review. Not by Swing Swing Submarine themselves, mind you. I wish someone would slander me like this.