Boom Blox Bash Party Wii Review
Boom Blox was a surprise package, coming from the combined talents of Steven Spielberg and EA. With user-generated content being a hot topic right now, this sequel includes the ability to create and download levels as well as play over 400 puzzles in a variety of game styles. So how does it play?
The cute animals and overall look of the game have changed very little from the original, but the explorable theme park environment is nicely done. Selecting an animal for your profile, there is an initial training mode to complete. This sets the tone nicely with a gentle learning curve introducing new features. The three main modes – Solo, Versus and Co-op – each have their own set of levels and challenges set in the theme park. The Carousel introduces the different game mechanics, and then the four sections of the park have a variety of levels in each. Selecting the crane enters the editing mode.
At its most basic, each puzzle requires the player to eliminate a set number of gems or blocks to earn points. Reaching targets will earn medals, and earning medals unlocks more levels – as well as extra pieces for the editing mode. Interacting with the levels comes in several forms. Throwing balls and bombs will knock things over, while the hand can be used to grab and move blocks. The new slingshot tool is a lot of fun, sending things flying. Learning how the blocks will react is vital – bombs explode, viruses spread and gravity will take over to topple the badly balanced stacks. Score multipliers also play an important role on many levels. The tactics required switch from heavy-handed demolition to delicate moves. The Versus mode pits more than one player against each other and also features changing rules; one of the best sections is the pirate-themed cannon levels with players destroying each other’s ships.
The currency of the game is Boom Bux, awarded for completing levels (the better the medal, the more earned) and from hitting the bonus boxes. The money can be spent on pieces for the level editor, or to “buy” a new level. Fail three times and the buy option appears – not essential, but a good way of avoiding frustration. There are Achievements to earn throughout the game. This could be something as simple as blowing up 500 Bomb Blox, or tougher targets such as earning ten gold medals in a row, and adds an extra incentive to keep playing.
Editing can be done by starting from scratch, or using one of the existing sets or styles of play as a template. Icons around the screen give access to the straightforward editing controls – copying and moving items, “painting” them to change how they act and score. A single click lets you test the level. The rules can be customised too, setting your own targets. Downloading user content to play and edit is fast and easy, with no complicated codes or settings. Within each section you can pick the newest, highest rated or a random selection of levels.
If there were a few flaws to point out, it would be that the music can grate after a while and that frustration can soon set in with some of the trickier levels. It can also be tricky to get the hang of editing at first, particularly the way that gems and other features have to be “painted” onto the blocks (having an option to select a gem block may have been a better way).
Boom Blox Bash Party is a very good game, best played in small doses to avoid frustration – and the structure facilitates that. The combination of puzzling gameplay and making your own levels have been put together in a nice package that should appeal to a wide range of Wii players. Fans of the first game should definitely pick this up.