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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Boom Blox

I've been playing Boom Blox for awhile now... this game gets good reviews, but it's not a graphics powerhorse or spectacular looking game... it looks more like a online flash game you'd play on your PC or something.

But the gameplay is pretty fun, and the Wii remote makes this a game that could only be as fun as it is on the Wii.

It's a puzzler sort of like Jenga, but with explosives! You use the Wii remote to target areas, and then flick it to throw the bomb & blow up the blocks strategically.

What really hurts this game from being GREAT is... the menu & user interface. Whaa??? How can something as minor as a games MENU affect how good it is?? Well.... it can. It may seem like nitpicking, but when you go to select levels, as soon as you "mouse-over" one of them, this big solid window pops up that COMPLETELY COVERS the rest of the menu. Sure, there's a preview image of the level you're "mouse-overed", but really... did it occur to NO ONE at EA that you could have had that NOT COVER the ENTIRE menu???? At least make the window transparent. Like I said, it seems minor, but it really hampers what should be a dead-simple process of accessing the levels you want to try. This is something the player shouldn't be thinking about at all.

And then there are levels where you have to place bomb blocks at certain areas, to try to make the puzzle fall down. You use the Wii remote as a pointer, click the A button to grab a bomb block, and move it around. Holding the B button while moving the Wii remote will adjust the camera. The major problem is that the DONE button is put in the middle of the bottom of the screen... so that it gets EXACTLY IN THE WAY of your work area. Like exactly. It's so easy to accidentally press DONE when you're simply trying to pick up/move a bomb block.... they couldn't have placed it in a WORSE spot than where they did. They could easily have put it at the top of the screen, where you never need to use to place a bomb. Seriously, EA paid someone to make this interface-- and they couldn't even see how it hobbled the game before shipping it out???

And then there's the Wii remote. At this point I'm convinced that EA has no understanding of the Wii remote at all. I was playing this morning and I held my Wii remote perfectly still, my hand resting on my knee while sitting, and watched the cursor jitter all over the screen.

All these little issues take what's a great idea, and keep it from being a great game. I'm so sick of lazy game devs. How do you screw up a MENU????

There's some enjoyment to be had from Boom Blox but it could have been so much more.


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