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99 Bricks Wizard Academy

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone, PS Vita

It's (literally) a solid game, and no - it's not Tetris

Product: 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy | Publisher: WeirdBeard | Developer: WeirdBeard | Format: iPad | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
99 Bricks: Wizard Academy iPad, thumbnail 1
It seems only fitting that 99 Bricks Wizard Academy has such a clumsy title.

It is, after all, a game about rickety towers that are a gentle nudge away from collapse.

And we ought to clear one thing up right away. Despite the blocks that are tumbling down the screen looking exactly like tetrominoes, this is a game that's very different to Tetris.

Building on solid foundations

If we were to compare 99 Bricks Wizard Academy to anything, it'd be Tower Bloxx, not Nintendo's handheld classic.

You begin with a small building at the bottom of the screen, and it's your job to build as big a tower on top of it as you can.

Those suspiciously Tetris-themed shapes fall slowly from above, giving you time to adjust their landing position and rotate them at 90 degree angles.

So far it's all still very Tetris-like, especially when your task is to try and fit the blocks together neatly.

But that's where the similarities end.

Nothing disappears when a solid line of pieces is put together. Instead you just keep building upwards.

The various shapes stay wherever they land, and a badly placed drop will create a jumble that quickly becomes impossible to build upon. Lose more than three blocks over the side and it's game over.

You can, with care, gradually extend the width of your tower too. You need to strategically overhang pieces then pin them in place by dropping shapes on top.

This is key to success, because it creates more opportunities to place blocks without losing them.

Working construction

Various magic spells are introduced along the way to help you out. One zaps skewiff blocks that have fallen badly, another cements shapes in place to give you rock-solid foundations.

This latter trick also happens automatically when you cross certain height thresholds, giving you some small reprieve as the tower becomes increasingly shaky and unstable.

A shop is available that, at first glance, looks like an IAP option.

But 99 Bricks Wizard Academy is a little more old school, and you buy new spells, outfits and power-ups using coins you earn by placing blocks and building your towers.

Another nice touch is how the game ties achievements into the gameplay. You can only progress when you meet a set number of challenges.

As you complete these a star is awarded. When you've earned enough stars you unlock the next type of tower.

Aiming high will win you coins, but you won't progress through the game. It's a great way to make the achievements actually mean something.

And ultimately it gives 99 Bricks Wizard Academy a depth that belies its simple, easily misunderstood gameplay premise.

This is a decidedly solid game, in every sense of the word.
99 Bricks Wizard Academy
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 6 June 2014
Don't let its visual similarity to Tetris fool you. This is a game that stands on its own very high merits
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