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The Blocks Cometh

For: iPhone

A chip off the old one

Product: The Blocks Cometh | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Halfbot | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0
The Blocks Cometh iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Blocks Cometh has more style than it can handle, but when it comes to substance this simple high score-chasing game is hard to get a handle on.

A cramped interface and few configuration options make it difficult to enjoy what little gameplay it has to offer. There's a lack of content in The Blocks Cometh coupled with cumbersome controls that make it hard to fall in love with, despite the phenomenal pixel-art graphics and superb soundtrack.


In control of a block-jumping hero, your goal is to climb as high as possible over blocks that fall from the top of the screen. These blocks descend at an ever-increasing rate and in different shapes and sizes. Massive square blocks are mixed in with tiny ones and vertical rectangles.

The default control scheme has you moving via a set of left and right arrows in the lower-left corner. You jump by tapping the small 'A' button in the opposite corner.

There's also a 'B' button for attacking, which is useful in clearing blocks from the screen. Each character possess a different weapon: Blockman fires a laser gun, for example, whereas Leaper wields a pair of laser blades.

Knowing when to jump (and double-jump depending on the character) is critical. As blocks cascade down the screen, making your way upwards is a matter of timing your jumps, as well as executing grinds against the sides of blocks to continue jumping ever higher.

The concept is fundamentally good, though the controls prevent it from fully materialising.

Hard to handle

Most problematic is the cramped configuration: with your handset held in portrait mode, your two thumbs crowd the bottom of the screen. It's not comfortable and there's a sense that it ought to be played in landscape or with a customisable interface.

Unfortunately, the only alternative control scheme involves tilting your device to move - an inferior option, to be sure.

Also an issue is the lack of a down directional button. While there's plenty of ways in which to execute crazy jumps and grinds, there were times I wanted the ability to quickly plant my feet on the nearest block - think Tetris and the ability to rush a tetromino to the bottom of the screen.

Adding a down arrow would allow you to force your character down in preparation for the next jump.

Addressing these control issues could make the lack of content acceptable - one mode, one stage, and only five characters of which two are available from the start. OpenFeint and Game Center achievements and leaderboard encourage frequent return, but with such uncomfortable controls it's hard to feel motivated.
The Blocks Cometh
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 24 February 2011
Killer pixel graphics and awesome music make you want to love The Blocks Cometh, but the crowded controls keep you from embracing it fully
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