March 5, 2015 Leave a comment
UPDATE: Hours after this review went live, a patch that addresses the majority of stuff I bring up here went live. A second chance review is coming soon.
Do you know why I could never be a game developer? Because I suck at whack-a-mole. Hit one mole, three pop up in its place. I don’t have the patience for it. I always wonder why I don’t just drop a stick of dynamite in the hole and just blow the little mechanical fuckers to kingdom come. Being a game developer is like being stuck in an endless game of whack-a-mole. Find one bug, and two pop up in its place. And, in the case of Block Legend DX, the whack-a-mole playfield has 100 holes in it. I literally hit some kind of glitch for every twenty to thirty minutes of gameplay.
By the way, it’s not as if mainstream games don’t have this problem. So if I sound unsympathetic, remember that I nearly threw my Wii through the window when I got permanently stuck without hope of finishing Metroid Other M, or that I shit my pants in terror when a half-man, half-animal thing crossed my path in Red Dead Redemption. Games can glitch. We’re not asking for perfection. Cars break down but we don’t stop driving them.
Block Legend DX is a match-the-pairs puzzler mixed with an RPG, though the RPG stuff is fairly minimalistic. Your character randomly encounters beasties and you fight them by matching tiles. Each tile has a specific attribute that either attacks a creature (or gives you extra experience points between battles), restores your shield and life, casts magic (magic only does two things: attack during battles and restore life between battles), collect coins, etc. You can only match similar tiles that are touching each other. The more that are connected, the stronger the action. Of course, this also means that your ability to do anything is based totally on luck. I’m not the luckiest of gamers when it comes to gaming and random chance. I swear, whenever I got to the boss, the game stopped spitting out attack options, dropping plenty of shields and coins. This happened to me so frequently that I asked the developer if the game did this intentionally, so as to beef up the difficult. It didn’t. The game just hated me. I don’t blame it, considering all the glitches I found that I had to alert the developer about again and again. It would be like telling someone there’s a booger hanging out of their nose.
Like this one for example: sometimes I would go to use an item and the damn thing just wouldn’t work. There’s a couple of items that are supposed to clear all of a particular tile from the board. Considering that there’s no way to shuffle the board (outside of doing so at a shop, but never a way in battle), being able to clear all of one tile is a very valuable item. It could free up the bottom of the board, which you can go a long time without ever touching if no tiles match down there. So I made a habit of buying these whenever they were sold in a shop. Then I would go to use them. And the special effect for using the item would happen and all the tiles would have an explosion. Only, once the effects cleared, the tiles were still there. Oh, it would give me the “value” for those tiles. If it was a “destroy all attack tiles” item, the total damage of all the sword would hit the monster, but the swords would still be where they were. In a game where the tiles you get are determined solely by luck and where digging yourself out can be impossible, this twist of fate screwed me several times. Like, dozens of times. Almost always against bosses too. It was uncanny. This is not by intention. This is a glitch.
Or sometimes the special effects would freeze to the screen. So like, the little explosion effect would just stop in the middle of animation and be stuck there. Forever. Or, until you quit out. And I wouldn’t recommend quitting out, for reasons I’ll get to later. Here’s the effect in the battle I first used it.
And here’s the same effect several battles later, still on the screen as I walk to the next fight.
This happened frequently. Now, while I was in the middle of playing this game, the developer patched it, so I don’t know how much of this is still up. I think this one is still live to some degree. It isn’t so bad because you can still see the tiles and use them. Annoying? Yes. But hey, it beats the tiles simply disappearing from the screen and not reappearing. That happens sometimes too.
Or there are things like starting a quest to get starblocks. Starblocks help you to unlock new characters, or to pre-equip items that boost your stats at the start. You can get more starblocks by completing quests throughout the game. There’s a problem though: the game simply refused to acknowledge when I finished a quest. But then it gets weirder: if I would buy a new quest from the shop, usually I would get credit for finishing a quest in the VERY NEXT BATTLE! Even weirder: it was a quest that wasn’t listed among the three active ones. I just turned on the game to give it one last kick at the can. I purchased the “complete 5 levels” quest. Which I did do, by the way. I didn’t get credit for it though. However, in the very next battle after I purchased that quest, I was given credit for completing a “inflict 3,000 damage” quest. Mind you, I had inflicted 3,000+ damage multiple times over during this play-through by this point. The glitches on display here are absolutely bizarre.
The final straw for me involves unlocking stuff. As I stated before, starblocks unlock stuff. I was avoiding using items when I started missions because I wanted to save up my starblocks. I’m also a game critic who takes a lot of screencaps, especially for this game, where I was alerting the developer to glitch after glitch after glitch. So I would quit out of the game, send him my latest screenshot, and then open it for another round. I did this a lot. As weird as this sounds, Block Legend DX ranks third at Indie Gamer Chick in total hours I put into the game prior to review.
Then I found it. The mother of all glitches. I noticed that items were costing more and more to unlock. I could have sworn the last time I checked, an item cost 70 starblocks. Suddenly, it cost 73, or something like that. Then I crashed the game and had to reopen it. When I came back, the unlockable characters cost 77 starblocks. What the fuck? So I exited the game, came back, and the price had gone up again. Just by quitting the game and restarting it. Check it out. I just took this screencap a few minutes ago.
I immediately quit the game and restarted it. Here is the new price of the items to unlock.
Up until I found this glitch, I couldn’t get enough of Block Legend DX. As buggy and frustrating as it is, it has an undeniable charm and a quirky, time-sinky quality to it. But this glitch? It killed my interest, dead. I know now that there’s no way I can ever unlock everything. The stuff I have unlocked? I’ll have to start over from the beginning once the game is patched. I’ll never be able to afford everything now. It sucks that all the time I put into this is worthless. I’m actually pretty pissed at this. It’s so sloppy and so poorly handled, and the developer quite frankly should have caught this himself. Glitches pop up so frequently in Block Legend DX that I can’t believe this was play tested at all, since anyone can discover them simply by playing the game. Terraria was a game infinitely more complex than this, and yet Block Legend DX easily has passed it as the glitchiest game I’ve ever liked since I started IGC.
It’s not even funny anymore. I’m just pissed off. I have a rule that if I like a game more than I dislike it, it wins my Seal of Approval. I did like Block Legend DX, right up until I found this. Yea, it bothered me that the difficulty scaling goes off its nut after you’ve beaten the third boss (this was noted in user reviews as well), but I figured if I unlocked enough stuff, maybe I would have a shot at it. But now that the unlockables are so out of reach, I don’t even care to try. This game is fucking broken. I have to stick to my own rules, so it wins my seal of approval. And a dead last ranking on the IGC Leaderboard, because I’m not sure I would choose to play this before any other Seal of Approval winner. It’s just too busted, and starting over from the beginning doesn’t sound fun to me. Not after putting THAT much time into it. Maybe when it’s patched you’ll get to have a fun time with it. But wait until then. I would like to note that the developer has been extremely apologetic and vows to get to work on these issues. I hope he enjoys whack-a-mole, because he’s about to play the biggest game of it ever.
Oh, and hopefully that IS a glitch (I wasn’t given verification that it was). If it’s not a glitch, it wins the award for worst play mechanic in gaming history. Please, God, tell me it was a glitch. I don’t want to lose faith in humanity.
Block Legend DX is Chick Approved because a made a rule that says if I enjoyed a game more than I disliked it, I have to give it my seal. I put 30+ hours into Block Legend DX (34 hours to be exact, that’s why I haven’t updated my site in a week) and genuinely did like it, glitches and all. I do have to stick to my own rules. It is also ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard. But I truly do not recommend anyone buy this game until it gets significantly patched. Watch for a “Second Chance with the Chick” review from me for Block Legend DX in the (hopefully) near future.