June 19, 2008

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Boom Blox, (Wii)
EA Los Angeles, May 6, Rated E
By Glenn "Quick Brick Block Stack" Given production@hippopress.com

Steven Spielberg sticks his Jenga in my Arkanoid. And it feels good.

Smashing the myth that the only good Wii games come from the big N itself, Boom Blox capitalizes on the special physicality of Wii-mote input to deliver the visceral joy of knocking crap over. In 300 levels of “story-driven” single play you are presented with a string of stacking, demolishing or deconstruction puzzles that require a deft hand, tight pitching arm and a steady aim to snatch critical point blox, fling explosives or say “to hell with this all” and merely bowl through precariously constructed towers. The story is stupid and vestigial as its anthropomorphised domino animals serve no purpose other than to hang some nugget of merchandisability on the title.

As with most Wii hits, the real fun comes from the multiplayer party modes. Split-screen, round-robin and simultaneous construction, puzzling and (most deliciously) castle assaulting make Boom Blox one of the most accessible and downright delightful group diversions out now. The addition of custom level construction using blox found during the single-player mode is a neat plus, as is the ability to send those levels to your Wii Friend Code list. Could there be a little more online capability? Sure. A central repository to browse and download custom levels would put BB on the top of the heap, but, alas, the online robustness of Mario Kart Wii seems unlikely to be duplicated. Still it’s a great purchase. AGlenn Given