Blek

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Blek App Poster Image
Creative minimalist game defies expectations.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The basic concepts of the game are easy, but there's no tutorial or instructional level, so young kids might be confused at first. Once they figure out how to play, they'll be fine with the mechanics, though figuring out the correct patterns to draw may take time.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blek is a puzzle game in which users rely on their creativity to successfully complete levels. Players must clear a level of certain colored balls while avoiding others using a line they draw on-screen, which then repeats its pattern until it reaches the top or bottom. There's no time limit, and players can try as often as they'd like. Frustration is the only factor kids might have to deal with.

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What's it about?

Players attempt to erase colored circles on-screen by drawing a single line. That line then repeats itself, moving in the direction of the swipe. So, if you draw a straight line, it moves straight. If you draw a loop, the line will curve again and again until it hits the top or bottom of the screen. (Lines bounce off the left and right sides.) Should the line hit a black circle, it will be absorbed and you'll have to try again. (Also, some colored circles are surrounded by black circles, which must be destroyed by taking out other colored circles with white dots, which eliminate the outer black ring.) It's a tough game to describe but an easy one to play once you grasp the concept. Simply swipe and try to forecast where the line will go.

Is it any good?

Part of what makes BLEK so appealing is its apparent simplicity, but it quickly becomes a complicated game -- and that's what keeps you playing. It's both basic and complicated, which is a perfect recipe for an addictive experience. 

There's a bit of repetition, yes. And the vocal sounds made when your line is sucked into a black dot can get annoying after a while, but it's the sort of thing you won't care about as you focus on how best to make the other dots disappear. It's an uncomplicated, uncluttered game that understands that less can be a whole lot more -- and that a terrific play experience can be accomplished with the simplest of ideas. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the need to think before acting. 

  • Families also can talk about how games can be great without flashy graphics. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Price: $2.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: March 26, 2014
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Size: 28.00 MB
  • Publisher: Denis Mikan
  • Version: 1.2.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

For kids who love puzzles

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