I can’t speak for everyone but I think most people enjoy playing a simple and addictive game from time to time. Simplicity can win people over, just look at Pac-Man, Tetris and Snap (okay, I took a little liberty with that last example). But simple games can also become repetitive and uninspiring. Blocky Bot teeters on the brink of the two.
Like the name implies, you play a little robot in a whimsical and playful blocky world. There’s no story, just a quick jump into the game, so there’s not much I can tell you about the little guy. Your job, as Blocky, is to jump from one platform to a higher platform without falling or hitting any enemies. No, seriously, that’s it.
The challenge lies in the speed and your reflexes. Take too long and the shadow that follows you will eat you up. Jump too early and you risk jumping onto an enemy or not landing on the next platform. You jump using the A button and move around with the left and right buttons, or analogue stick. It’s easy to master, but you’ll probably mess up a few times while you get used to the speed of the game.
What’s great about Blocky Bot, is that each game, or retry, is randomly generated so there’s no possible way for you to form a strategy. The only thing that works is practice, and even that might not help. When I started, I averaged about 10 jumps before croaking. Then I moved up to 20 and now I’m averaging around 40. My highest jump is 179, with 160 taking second place. Your highest score is saved on the main menu, but there’s no local leaderboard to help you keep track.
To help beef up the content, you can unlock a fair amount of content. There are four themes in total and 24 characters to collect. You’ll gradually unlock the themes, but the characters are only unlocked after you collect enough coins. You need 100 for a new character. The themes and characters don’t change the game, just the aesthetics. The themes change the look and feel of the level, as well as changing the background music – both are big highlights in the game. I really like the look of each theme, especially the Robot Land theme, which is so colourful and illuminated that it looks like a stage based on Las Vegas. The characters, however, serve no other purpose than to look different. It would’ve been great for each character to have a certain trait, like fast jumps, moving faster or doubles the coins you collect. However, some of them are mad enough for you to like regardless, like a cactus plant or a box of French Fries. My favourite is the Trashbot – who’s also my lucky bot as I got to 160 and 179 while using him.
Despite its immediate addictiveness, the game does become very repetitive. Also, aside from mindlessly killing a few minutes, there’s no other reason/ motivation to play the game after you’ve unlocked all the characters. I also find the lack of an online leaderboard a bit disappointing. I usually find online leaderboards for indie games a bit pointless, but considering the whole point of this game is to improve your high score, an online leaderboard would’ve been a valid inclusion.
I also feel like there’s an obvious disconnect with regards to the platform. As much as I like it on the Wii U, it would be much better suited for mobile phones or the 3DS. It’s more of an “on the go” game than a “sit on couch” game.
Blocky Bot sure is an addictive game, but there’s not a lot of meat on it, so its lifespan isn’t very long. You could spend an hour on it or keep playing it indefinitely. If you’re looking for a very casual game to play, give this one a try. And it’s fairly inexpensive (It’s R35 on the eShop).