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Bloki review - A deceptively awkward puzzler


For: iPad   Also on: iPhone
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Mental Bloki

Product: Bloki | Format: iPad | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
You have to have a certain mindset to play Bloki. It's not enough to just like the odd casual puzzler - you have to have an innately methodical, logical approach to problem solving.

I thought it best to start with that disclaimer because if you're not wired up in that way, you'll find a considerable wall blocking the way to enjoyment.

Move and grow

That's not to say that Bloki is immediately unwelcoming or esoteric. It's actually a very tidy, concise game with clean (if sparse) presentation and super-simple controls.

You start each level with an assortment of coloured blocks. Tapping the screen grows your stack of block upwards, affecting whichever blocks are touching the ground. Swiping the screen rolls your stack over in that direction.

By combining these two control elements - movement and growth - you can crudely mould and position your stacks.

That's essential, because the aim of each level is to build the appropriate shape to overlap preset coloured markers at a range of heights and positions.



All the small things

Like I said, it looks and sounds simple, and each element is indeed relatively straight-forward in isolation. But they combine to form a pretty fiendish puzzler.

You have the requirement to orient your irregular bunch of blocks just so by rolling them in one of four directions. You also have the requirement to visualise a bespoke 3D shape, and then build it using an inherently limited system.

It's drawing up an all-encompassing plan for these distinct stages and then executing with no knot-tying mistakes that will prove the undoing of many a casual puzzle fan. It certainly did for me and my limited attention span.

Bloked out

The controls are arguably a little too streamlined for their own good, too. It's all too easy to mix up the building (with taps) and the moving (with swipes). The game either needs a back-up button, or to better separate the build and move commands - preferably both.

As a result of these challenges, as well as the lack of a really fresh mechanic or distinctive presentation, Bloki never really clicked for me in the way that something like .Projekt did. It's just too awkward, with the friction caused outweighing the rewards.

For those with the necessary patience and logical aptitude, however, it could be worthwhile diversion.
 
Bloki review - A deceptively awkward puzzler
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 23 May 2018
A surprisingly tough spatial puzzler that's just a little too awkward and unintuitive for its own good
 
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