App of the Week: “The Blocks Cometh”

Image Halfbot

Image Halfbot

One solitary man stands with a gun in his hands among the rubble of a dying world. He stares up into the red-orange sky of the apocalypse: futuristic ships liftoff from the ground as massive debris hurtles down, heading directly towards our man. He dodges a few small blocks with ease. Then, a long, thin block nearly crushes him. Panicked, he fires a few shots, obliterating the obstruction. With his attention averted, he is crushed to bits by one of the smaller blocks. The End.
Above is just one of the possible scenarios in “The Blocks Cometh.” This game is part plat-former, part Tetris. Quadrilateral objects are constantly falling from the sky, and you must summit these endless obstructions if you hope to survive. “Blocks” revels in addictive simplicity: you only have four buttons (jump, shoot, left, right), but the difficulty ramps up just enough to keep you for another round… or maybe 10. The graphics are delightfully retro, with the image quality on par with a Game Boy Advance game. The music, too, is reminiscent of that era with upbeat chip-tunes coloring the experience.
The game also has variety in the form of other game modes and unlockable characters. The modes are only slight variations on an already simplistic formula, but Casual and Arcade both give you three lives before you croak for good, so they can be great for practice. Gamebot is a purchasable retro-fied version of the main game, styled like the Game Boy games of old. Seeing as how it’s mostly another rehash of the basic formula, though, you can safely skip out on it and its $0.99 price tag.
The characters can be fun to unlock, and while each character fundamentally has the same exact buttons, they each play differently to one another. One may only get one jump, for example, but jump higher or do more projectile damage than the original Blockman (yes, that really is his name). The variety in characters is enough to pump life into the game for a few more hours of play.
The gameplay itself is perfect pick-up-and-play material for short stretches of boredom. “The Blocks Cometh” is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad for $1.99. n