Blokus (blok-uhs) for PSN is a solid adaptation of the classic puzzle strategy board game. In short, if you enjoy playing the Blokus board game with your family or a few friends, you will like the PSN version. Or if you are like me and have never played Blokus before, the rules are simple enough to pick up and in no time you may find yourself hooked. Blokus isn’t the household name that Othello or Checkers is, but many will find it just as compelling. Some features in the PSN game are a single player campaign mode, several game types, and custom music support.
For those who are not familiar with the game, it is played on a square board of 20 rows and columns. In the classic 4 player game, each player starts with 21 Tetris-esque pieces that range in size from 1 to 5 squares, and the goal is to place as many of these pieces on the board as possible. The first piece played by each player must be placed in his own corner of the board, with subsequent pieces being placed so that one of their corners touching the corner of a piece of the same color. Full sides of the same color cannot touch. If a player can’t play, he passes and the game ends when no one can place any more pieces. In the board game version the scoring is based on unplayed pieces, but the PSN version takes a simpler approach and scores based on how many squares were placed. Therefore the larger pieces are worth more than the smaller ones. Additionally, a 15 point bonus is given if a player uses all their pieces. At first glance this may come across as more complicated than it is, but I assure you that it will only take a game or two to get the hang of, and before long you’ll be diving into more advanced strategies like how to execute a “perfect block”.
There are also several other game types, including a 2 player game and a team game. I really liked the campaign mode, which consists of 6 “cups” of 5 rounds each that increase in difficulty. They mix up the game types throughout the campaign to keep the player engaged. The first few cups are kind of a joke to get through, and I didn’t really feel challenged until the 2nd half of the campaign mode. In some of the rounds they incorporate a timer, which I have mixed feelings about. When you are playing with other humans it makes sense to have a timer to keep the game moving, but when playing a single player game, the AI players move instantly, effectively cutting out the time you would usually take to plan your next move. I don’t mind it too much though, and it definitely made the campaign mode more challenging.
The graphics are colorful, albeit pretty basic (except for the sweet spinning animation the pieces do when you place them), and the avatars are as androgynous as the weirdos who inhabit Ludia titles (Family Feud, Price is Right). Additionally, the soundtrack is repetitive and I would’ve had a difficult time playing for longer than a half hour at a time if it weren’t for the custom music support and Get Rich or Die Tryin’. These are more minor details though, and overall didn’t really affect my opinion on the game as a whole. The Move controls are intuitive and work just fine, but I never went out of my way to switch controllers if there was a DS3 nearby.
My biggest problem with the game is the lack of an online community, making it nearly impossible to get an online game going without inviting someone. This is especially frustrating because half of the trophies in the game are based on games won in online multiplayer, which caused me to give up on going for all the trophies. If they had utilized lobbies instead of the infuriating ‘cross your fingers, we’re looking for someone’ matchmaking system it may have been a bit easier to get a game going.
All in all, Blokus is a ton of fun for either the campaign mode or local multiplayer, but if I wanted to play competitively I would be better off using the official Blokus website to play online. They also don’t try to reinvent the game with obscure variations like some other games have done (Risk Factions). Having said that, Blokus is well worth the $4.99 price tag, and will either satisfy an itch to play a familiar game or introduce you to a clever strategic puzzle game you never knew existed.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Custom soundtrack support
- Tough single player cups
What I Dislike:
- Online community is nonexistent