Blok Drop U is competent. That’s really the best way to describe it; the game isn’t flashy, it doesn’t do anything new or particularly noteworthy. It does what it sets out to do: deliver a fun puzzle game with solid mechanics and a satisfying design. Unfortunately, the end comes before it has the chance to truly get going.
The game’s premise is simple. A red block sits atop other, differently colored blocks. Your goal is to get it on solid ground and delete the rest of the blocks. Like most puzzle games, a lot is done with this seemingly straightforward idea.
The game is played primarily on the GamePad, though a display is also shown on the TV. All you, as a player, have to do is tap the screen to make the grey block of your choosing disappear. Doing so has consequences, however; this is a physics-based puzzle game, after all, and thus, removing one block can cause the others to shift and/or fall over.
It makes for supremely enjoyable gameplay; figuring out which blocks to remove and when to do so makes for a very rewarding experience. There are always multiple methods to win a level and, when victory comes as a result of some ridiculous, made-up-after-things-went-horribly-wrong strategy, it’s puzzle gaming at its most satisfying. Best of all, the physics are done perfectly. It’s easy to tell exactly how one element will react to another and it leads to successes feeling like they came from your own skill as opposed to luck.
Unfortunately, that’s about where the positives end. Of course, as it is a two-dollar game made by one person, it should come as no surprise that the visuals are more than a little lacking. To my surprise, I found that I preferred the lack of distractions, though that probably would have changed, had the game gone on longer.
It leads me to my absolute biggest problem with the game: it is far too short. I realize that usually isn’t a deciding factor for a game, but this game is way too short. I beat it in under an hour with time to spare, since there are just thirty levels total. Considering some take only a minute to complete while the most any one took me was five, chances are you’ll blow through this game as fast as I did.
It’s not that the game is easy, per se — it simply is introduced in a style that offers reasonable, bite-sized challenges that are meant for rapid-fire attempts at which point the ideas are then slightly expanded on in the next level. Because it ends so quickly, it never gets a chance to build and capitalize on this.
It is not just that the game doesn’t offer as much bang-for-buck as one might hope — it’s that it ends before the ideas introduced have a chance to be fleshed out and expanded upon to make more complex and interesting designs. Still, all this said, the core game is brilliant while it lasts, and hopefully future DLC will help negate this problem.
Strangely, the game doesn’t have a level selection screen, so there’s no ability to play specific levels. It offers you the choice of starting with the basics, going ten levels in when a major new element is introduced, or starting yet another ten levels after that. This is annoying already, of course, but after you die, it asks if you want to retry or quit. If you accidentally brush the wrong button — as I once did — you will be sent back to the menu and will have to redo a number levels to get back to where you were. It is baffling why it was done this way, but whatever the reason, it’s infuriating.
Another thing to mention is the music. On the upside, it’s really good and extremely catchy; it fits the game, too, with a very pleasant style. On the downside, there’s just one music track for the entire game. It starts at the menu and will keep playing until you beat the final level. That’s unfortunate, but considering the length of the game and the strength of the song, it never gets a chance to become annoying.
Blok Drop U is good. It’s fun. It is, as I stated at the beginning, competent. I certainly cannot suggest the game to a great number of people, but even so, there’s a lot to enjoy for the time it lasts. If you’ve enjoyed physics puzzlers in the past or want to try one out, this isn’t a game to immediately dismiss. Well-done physics and gratifying level design leads to some really enjoyable gameplay, but just be prepared for it to end long before it should and expect to replay some levels if you ever take a break or press the wrong button. It’s not a game everyone will love, but if you have two dollars to spare and want a fun distraction for an hour or so, this is definitely one to consider.
- Solid mechanics
- Satisfying level design
- Catchy music
- Ends far too quickly
- No stage select
- Utterly devoid of visual flair
- Only one music track