Denki Blocks! Review—Who Knew Playing with Blocks Was So Tricky?
While other genres seem to come in waves to the Minis platform, the puzzle genre has been a steady drip of releases, seemingly one every month or so. The latest, Denki Blocks!, is apparently something of a classic puzzle game that I had never heard of. It originally appeared on the Game Boy Advance and has appeared on several platforms since, including both the iPhone and Facebook. This doesn’t appear to be a port, though, but an all-new version from Tiger Games of Scotland.
The premise is fairly simple. You have a large square grid containing colored blocks that stick together when blocks of the same color touch. You can move the blocks collectively in any direction, with the goal of getting them all to stick together. This is complicated (and aided) by the grid having a few obstacles that the blocks will not move through.
So, essentially, you need to find a way to maneuver the blocks through the obstacles on the grid in a certain way. It’s pretty easy at first but soon becomes quite tricky, then becomes maddeningly frustrating as the obstacles literally become maze-like in their layout. You make one false move and, boom, blocks get stuck together, and you can’t move them anymore.
Thankfully, though, there is a handy undo feature. You can take back each move with a press of the O button. You can take back many, many moves, more than I could count, all the way to the beginning. If you lack the patience to move back to the beginning that way, you can simply restart by opening the menu and selecting reset. Both are things you will be doing a lot.
While the goal of each puzzle is to simply join all the blocks of the same color, there is an extra goal, the “Master Challenge.” This varies from puzzle to puzzle: sometimes you must make the blocks into a certain shape; sometimes solve it quickly; or, do it in a certain number of moves or less.
When you achieve this Master Challenge, you get a “Denki Star” which will unlock an extra puzzle once you have enough of them. The puzzles also come in groups of 16. To unlock the next group of 16, you must solve at least 10 of the current group. In each batch of 16, some puzzles are really easy to do, so it’s not that difficult unlocking the next group. But, the simple ones have very tricky Master Challenges.
There are over 100 puzzles, so it should keep you busy for at least a few hours just trying to beat them, though it really depends on how good you are at spatial thinking. And then if you wanted to get a Denki Star on everything, it would likely double or triple that.
Although it’s a very simple game, it’s very well polished. Lots of animations, flashing lights, and words with exclamation points. Very cheery, and if not for the lack of a host and announcer, it would feel like a game show. Sound effects are fairly minimal, though, a few beeps and catchy notes now and then when you do something. If I hold the PSP to my ear, I can hear music playing in the background, but it’s extremely soft.
Denki Blocks! is well done and has a decent amount of content. Whether or not you like it really depends on how appealing sliding block puzzles are to you. For the average person, it can get frustrating at times, but if you get stuck on one puzzle, you can simply do another and come back to it later.
It reminded me a lot of Super Fruitfall, so if you liked that, you’ll probably like this, and if you didn’t, well, this is more accessible and has more charm.