Originally posted March 16th 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 2/26/2015
The main game/story
Directly taking the main gameplay element from Tetris Attack, GravBlocks+ puts a new spin on it thanks to the addition of gravity blocks, which can completely change how you perform combos, by either messing them up or making them even more crazy! With a minor story mode about being abducted by aliens included as well. It’s nothing epic or anything, but it ends up as a nice touch.
The game’s menus are organized rather nicely, making it easy to choose which game mode you want to play. Sadly the actual game itself looks rather ugly at first, with some of the 3D backgrounds looking a bit too dark and the block designs looking rather bland. Luckily this can be fixed a bit thanks to the hidden designs in the game (Unlocked by completing achievements), so it’s not too bad, especially when you unlock some of the very cool ones and use them together.
Music and sound effects:
The first thing I’ll say right off the bat is that the Gamepad speaker only seems to play sound from the left speaker. I have no clue why, but it’ll hopefully be patched soon. That being said, the music in the game itself is rather generic, save for the main menu music which is rather catchy. Sound effects work well, but they seem to be rather quiet even when you turn them up in the options menu. A missed opportunity if you ask me.
When you begin the game, you’ll have a lot of modes to choose from, and while some are locked, you can easily unlock them by getting accomplishments completed. There is the puzzle mode, which is similar to the one in Tetris Attack where you must clear all of the blocks in order to complete the stage, the story mode, which simply requires you to complete three objectives per stage, and the numerous high score modes available for you to choose from.
With all of these modes, you’d think it would be just as addicting as Tetris Attack, right? Well unfortunately it has a few problems that prevent it from being as great as it could have been. To start off, there’s no multiplayer in this game whatsoever. Considering how the most memorable feature of Tetris Attack was sending garbage blocks to your opponent after getting a high combo, this is an incredibly disappointing exclusion, as even if it was with the CPU only it would be a lot of fun, especially with the gravity blocks involved.
The second problem is that the game plays rather slowly, especially in the story mode. You see, the blocks fall from the top of the screen in this game, unlike in Tetris Attack where the bottom of the screen moves up. In that game, you can easily speed it up even on the slowest setting by holding down a button, but in this game even when holding down a button it still takes forever to build up, especially on the easier difficulties. This can make completing some challenges in the story mode incredibly boring, until later on when it gets more difficult. While it’s a good attempt at introducing the player to the mechanics, it ends up making it boring in the long run.
The good news is that if you can handle waiting through the incredibly slow first levels of the game, you’ll find a lot of content to unlock. The puzzle mode has over 100 levels, the story mode has a decent amount of content as well, and the three high score modes are fun to share on Miiverse. (Which sadly at this moment is impossible but the developers are working on it so it shouldn’t take too much longer). With the many accomplishments available to “unblock” you’ll certainly have a lot of content with this game.
In conclusion, Gravblocks+ has a really cool take on the classic formula in Tetris Attack, though hampered by some problems with the presentation and the speed of the game. However, if you can ignore these problems, you’ll find a ton of content here to enjoy, and for $4.99 it’s well worth the price tag in that regard. I give Gravblocks+ a 6 out of 10 and recommend it to fans of puzzle games with a lot of patience, as when you get past the slow parts, you’ll find a really fun game.
Thanks to From Nothing Games for the review code.