Blockids Review (PSN)

Game Review:Blockids
Release: 11/29/2010
Genre: Arcade
Developer:MonkeyPaw Games
Available Platforms: PlayStation Network
Players: 1
MSRP: $5.99
ESRB Rating: E

Arkanoid, Break-Out, Woody-Pop: All legends of the brick breaking genre. Much like getting your revenge on Tetris blocks, this style of gameplay is meant to have fun breaking things down. Blockidsis a blast from the more-recent past, having arrived on the PlayStation Network by way of the PSone. Is this adventure of a few kids tracking down five magic crystals worth breaking out the third dimension?

If you’ve never played a brick-breaking game, it’s incredibly simple. In a basic game, you just move a paddle from left to right on the bottom of the field, bouncing a ball towards the top of the screen. Up there, “bricks” are waiting to be destroyed when hit. In many games, the bricks will release items upon their destruction, which modify gameplay. This is how classic games do it, and this game lets you do it through both a “story” mode and a mode with 100 levels and infinite continues. Blockids smartly improves on this standard formula.

The best thing about Blockids is how it breaks the mold. Multiple character choices include different specialized tactics and animations; some characters expand their paddle when they fill up their special bar, some have balls that can travel through blocks, and so forth. Bosses show up every so often, with polygonal models that have to be tackled strategically. Still, one ever-present gameplay modification is the most significant addition to the concept, and completely changes the way the battle is played.

Blockids, being one of the forerunners of modifying classic styles of gameplay with 3D elements in the early days of the PlayStation One, when consoles were just now capable of performing such feats, adds the third dimension to the gameplay. A “jump” button causes the ball to jump upwards, capable of skipping large swaths of game area. This wouldn’t be too much of an improvement if it weren’t for the fact that the game realm was now 3D as well. Blocks stack upon one another, and when lower pieces fall, the higher pieces move on down. Therefore, the player can hop balls up to higher pieces and let them take down each piece as it rolls down the game-made shelves and trees of bricks. This gameplay element makes it stand out from the other brick-blasting games of past.

Sadly, though, the game is still deeply entrenched in early PSone graphics, which means nicely pixelated characters which, honestly, don’t stand out too much in the design front. Sure, a mermaid, robot, and ghost are unique in concept, but they just don’t stand out nowadays. Additionally, the graphics are horribly pixelated on the faces of polygons. An iOS game could easily have improvements on the design and style of this type of gameplay, but it’s primarily just an improvement of technology over fifteen or so years, and not a real mark on the title. Looking at it from the view of a PSone game, it’s functional. No apparent save functionality makes tackling the 100 level challenge near-impossible if only from a sanity standpoint, and a glitchy dash move never seems to work when you want it to.

Blockids is a nice little trip to the past, but it’s age has begun to show it’s cracks. Sure, it’s an interesting concept, but unless you’re addicted to breaking bricks, it’s an appropriate relic of a bygone era.

Bullet Points
– Great improvements to the standard formula
– Weak graphics have only gotten weaker with age
– Once you get the concept, not much to expand upon

Final Score

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