Review: Groovin’ Blocks
Developer: Empty Clip Studios
Release Date: March 18th, 2010
Players: 1-2 local
What I liked:
- Interesting new puzzle mechanics; there’s a unique foundation here.
- Great minimalist style with a catchy theme song.
- Colorblind support!
What I disliked:
- Doesn’t quite “click” like some of the best puzzle games can during a jammin’ gameplay section.
I’ve seen Groovin’ Blocks compared as “Lumines with a twist” and hoo boy, that’s just not the case at all. Where with Lumines you felt like you were creating music with the game, in Groovin’ Blocks you’re a total slave to the beat. There’s no method to add some notes here or there, it’s just stick with that ever-changing beat, or risk losing your multiplier.
Not that I’m complaining; it’s refreshing to jump into a new type of puzzle game after all, but what’s important to note about Groovin’ Blocks first and foremost is, this is quite a different little game (and a good start from Empty Clip Studios).
In Groovin’ Blocks you’re basically matching three colors at a time from falling blocks, and as you connect them they start chaining all the matching connected colors. “Slam” the block on the level with the beat, and you’ll make the blocks pop out a bit, giving them a greater point value and starting your multiplier. You could play the game without using the slamming/beat mechanic, though progression seems unlikely as you unlock new music tracks in three different difficulty tiers based on your score. You can even unlock powerups that will automatically spawn throughout the modes in the game, and will be upgraded automatically as you play though it.
And while I can appreciate the minimal look and sleek style of the game, I think they went a bit too minimal in displaying certain elements to the player…hitting a beat, for example, doesn’t do much aside from “popping” the blocks out for a higher score. It would be a bit more involving if they flashed some text on the screen or some kind of audible cue that I’m doing an awesome job (and the same goes for losing a multiplier, which is hardly apparent). Perhaps it was this lack of cues that made me feel like a bystander to the music rather than a part of it, which would be fine if the game can pull off a really different and great gameplay experience. But I just never got too involved in it.
But hey, the game still feels solid all around, the music is good (I particularly enjoyed the theme music), and I like where they took this game in a flooded genre, despite my personal feeling of the game not quite getting there. Puzzle/music fans should watch some more vids on this game before plunking down the moolah, but it’s definitely something worth checking out.