Boom Blox Bash Party is a Wii exclusive sequel to the 2008 title Boom Blox. Developed in conjunction with Steven Spielberg, Boom Blox was one of the surprise game successes on the Wii last year. Boom Blox contained over 400 levels of varied gameplay, requiring players to move, shoot, bomb, and smash “blox” on the screen. It was an unexpectedly fun experience, and Boom Blox Bash Party promises to be all that and much more.
Those who have played Boom Blox will feel right at home as the game interface and structure is much the same as previously. The game has over 400 new levels, spread across single-player, co-op, and competitive modes. Typically each level will present you with a stack of blox arranged in some formation. Depending on the particular level, you might have to remove blocks delicately from the tower without knocking down the structure (like a “Jenga” tower), or you might instead have to work out how to knock over all the blocks by throwing objects at the structure within a set number of throws. A goal is presented for each level, and a coloured medal is awarded depending on how well you perform.
Controlling the game is simple and intuitive with the Wii-remote. Point at the screen to control the cursor, and press A to grab a block. Or in throwing levels, press and hold A to set the target for your throw, and then make a forward throwing action while letting go of A. The ease with which new players can pick this game up is a good thing, because Boom Blox Bash Party is a very good multiplayer affair.
Boom Blox Bash Party has drastically reduced the emphasis on the shooting games, which many criticised as being unimaginative and similar to the abundance of low quality shooting mini-games that have made it onto the Wii. Instead there are new tools available (level dependent) which include the cannon, slingshot. Both are fun to use though skill and thought is needed for effective deployment.
Most blox in the game are simple standard blox, but it is the special blox that make the game. Some blox explode when hit, while others disappear leaving voids (letting blox above them fall). The new addition to the blox family are the virus blox, which can be affect surrounding blocks and set off explosive chain reactions. Levels can now also take place in low gravity outer-space, or underwater, to provide some environmental variety.
The single player or co-operative game modes offer non-linear progression through the many levels. So if you get stuck, you won’t find yourself throwing around the Wii-mote because you can’t play any new levels. This was one of the must frustrating things about the original game, so it is good to see that the developers have listened to the feedback on this. You can choose to take another path and come back at a later time, or the game will also allow you to buy your way to locked levels using Boom Bux that are earned by playing the game.
Co-operative games are very enjoyable with family and friends, and players will need to discuss how best to complete levels in the fewest number of moves. Working together is mandatory, as players are assigned a particular tool or object each, and need to figure out which ones to use when. Competitive games are a fun addition to the game, but scores usually offer no reflection on how well someone played. There is a large luck factor in many of the games that are available, but aside from that it is still an enjoyable mode if you have others to play it with.
If you ever get through the vast number of levels supplied with this game, or if you just want to try something else, then the level editor allows you to create new levels for local or remote friends. In a new feature, game levels can now also be shared with gamers that are not on your friends list – that is, once your level has been screened for approval. Similarly you can now download levels made by players worldwide, and the ability to filter levels by “most popular” and “most highly rated” means that you can be assured of a reasonable level of quality.
Boom Blox Bash Party is a hard game to explain, and the best thing to do is to simply get your hands on a copy and see what it’s all about for yourself. It is a challenging and enjoyable puzzle game, with interesting gameplay mechanics and excellent controls. It is also a very fun game to play with others, and parents with children old enough to play with them should consider this game for those rainy weekends and school holidays. Boom Blox Bash Party is a successful sequel that makes improvements to the original without breaking the gameplay. More levels, and more fun – it is a title that you should definitely check out if you have a Wii.