Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles Review—A Mouthful
Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles is Open Emotion Studios‘ first entry to the Minis program. This game is a much improved version of Mad Blocker, a Flash game which was later ported to the iPhone as iMad Blocker.
I played the Flash game (which is supposed to be similar to the iPhone version), and I concluded: this game is below average. I’ve seen a lot of Tetris-like spins, and Mad Blocker seems to have been one of those which were buried in the crowd of over-familiarity. In short, it’s nothing special. But, I am not reviewing Mad Blocker/iMad Blocker. I am reviewing the puzzler extraordinaire: Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles, and it is nowhere near below average.
Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles has the common gameplay mechanics of a falling blocks game like Tetris. It is also a match-4 game. The blocks are laid horizontally, which may be jarring for some players. The controls are initially awkward. I am used to accelerating blocks by pressing down. Here it is X; the down button does nothing during game time. The shoulder buttons are used to rotate the individual blocks.
There are a few power-ups, which are randomly given rather than randomly appearing. The only way to gain these power-ups is by “chaining”: causing eight blocks to match (as opposed to the random nature of the original Mad Blocker). The power-up is randomly generated, but it also includes a chance of not scoring a power-up at all. The power-up can be used immediately, as it is assigned automatically to Circle, Square or Triangle. And there’s a reserve slot, too, if you are full with power-ups on the three buttons.
This game design is at its utmost excellence during the Story Mode. In this mode (and yes, there’s a storyline in this puzzler), you are given certain objectives. Sometimes you are tasked to score a given number of points within a time limit. Here, the risk versus reward interplay puts on a great show. Chaining nets more points than simple matching, so you are forced to risk everything in order to win the level! If you play it safe, the time runs out; if you build up the stack, it’s easier to score but still highly dangerous because, you know, you’re going to fill the container up. There are varied objectives to follow, and they drive you to keep on playing. There are “negative” blocks that impede your progress, too—there’s a lot of going on here.
I’ve played the entire story mode in one sitting (I was actually lying down on my bed). It is moderately challenging. It’s salivating to blaze through the story mode, though, because of the challenges and also the art and the music.
This game is well worth the purchase just for its hand-drawn artwork and its robust (for a Mini) soundtrack. The journey of the Fluzzles is told in impressive scenes. The time-constrained levels possess this heart-pumping music. Though the story is not strong, the presentation radiates.
There are two other modes, the Endless Mode (the survival mode) and the Tower Mode, the latter being a twist of actually raising the stack upwards in order to reach the next level. It is highly engaging but not as memorable as the Story Mode.
The game does have some wild inconsistency, one example being the presentation of the high score table. It’s really ugly. Found it weird, since the timer had its own detailed animation, while the high score table is, like, lazily set up.
“Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles” is a mouthful to say, but this Mini can be reduced to one word: excellent. True, it may have a most familiar gameplay mechanic, and it doesn’t reinvent the falling blocks/match-3 (in MBA:RotF’s case, match-4) genre or introduce new surprises; however, the high production value and a whole lot of heart help it stand out from the sea of clones. The story campaign may be short, but for the few hours of playing it, I thought that this was one of the best Minis ever.