What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a puzzle game that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Rated "E" by the ESRB, the game earns descriptors for cartoon violence and comic mischief. The violence shows up in some of the ways you destroy the block puzzles, including throwing explosive devices like bombs. And some of the blocks are anthropomorphic, but when hit with a bomb or similar destructive device, they simply roll off the screen or fade away. The comic mischief results from behavior by some of the character blocks who do things like sneak up behind other characters to ignite bomb blox. One location has a spooky haunted house vibe to it, so families with young children might want to avoid that area. The easy puzzles can be enjoyed by kids as young as 7, while the harder levels will intrigue even hard-core gamers. And families can play together with up to 4 players in either a cooperative or competitive mode.
What's it about?
Steven Spielberg, in collaboration with Electronic Arts, created BOOM BLOX as a family game for all ages. Offering almost 400 levels of puzzles where the object is to destroy block structures, players can explore the puzzles individually (in either an explore or story mode), in groups (either competitively or cooperatively), or by fiddling with them in a mode that allows you create or remix your own puzzles. With each puzzle, you are presented with a block structure and given the tools to destroy it -- the key to solving the puzzle is figuring out how to accomplish the goal with the most finesse, whether that be by knocking it down with one well-placed throw or finding the point in a structure where you start a chain reaction. Some of the puzzles require you to pull out blocks in a Jenga-like manner.
By placing the Wii remote in your hand, you interact with the puzzles in one of three ways: you will throw something at the structure, grab something out of the structure, or blast specific areas within the structure. The block structures contain over a dozen different types of blocks that react to your actions in different ways. For example, if one chemical blox touches another chemical blox, they explode. The puzzles also contain anthropomorphized blocks that tell stories and have specific behaviors when they come in contact with certain blocks. For example, if a puzzle has a beaver blox present, the beaver will always walk toward a bomb blox and ignite it.
Is it any good?
At the heart of this game is the satisfying action of destroying a pile of blocks in a very dramatic way. Each puzzle can be played over and over again, so that you can try different ways to solve it. There is always an easy solution that will earn you a bronze or silver medal, but finding the one that will earn you the gold will take perseverance and smarts.
What makes Boom Blox so good is that it will appeal to all sorts of players: young and old; newbies and hard-core gamers; people who just like puzzles and people who do puzzles to complete a story; groups that want to play cooperatively and those who want to crush their opponents; and people who like to create puzzles and share them with others (through the Wii Connect feature). Families with LEGO-maniacs will find this game provides kids with endless ways to construct block puzzles to share with parents, siblings, or friends.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why it's significant that Steven Spielberg is involved with this game. In designing this game, he added little block characters who cheer you on because he didn't want players to feel lonely while they were solving puzzles. Did you enjoy the attention of block characters? What is your favorite way to play with others: competitively or cooperatively, and why?