Blockform (New 3DS eShop)- Review

Thanks to CW Games for the review code

Title: Blockform
System: New Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
Price: $4.99
Release Date: 10/13/2016


Story

There’s no trace of a story to find in Blockform, either in the manual or the game itself. However, the official website does give a bit of a story regarding the history of the game, and from what it seems this title was created in a single hour by a fellow youtube gameplay channel.

Graphics

Right off the bat anyone who looks at a screenshot of this title from either the 3DS eShop or the Nintendo website will notice how downright ugly it is. Not because of poorly drawn textures or dumb character designs, but rather because of the lack of anything to speak of! Yes, those images really do represent the actual game. Outside of a “title screen” (which is really just a special level titled at an angle to give a focus to the words on screen) there’s pretty much nothing to transition you to the bland and dull levels.

On the bright side, this also leads to fast loading times, but then you get a closer look at everything, and see what I meant when I mentioned how ugly everything looks. The main character looks miserable, consisting of nothing but a white block and some black shapes with nothing else. His walking animation is slow and awkward, and the background of every level look like someone used the fill bucket tool. The “platforms” don’t look much better, with every one of them being nothing more than textureless, bland four sided shapes that vary in color. Pretty much the only thing in the entire game that look decent are the enemies, which are rad ghosts with sunglasses.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-40-38-am

There is a very simplistic touch screen menu where you can choose from the forty levels, but once you tap on one you’re thrown into the level, with no transitions to set you up whatsoever. The touch screen does change into a map of sorts, but it’s not a very good one. Coins are shown as yellow on the touch screen, but if there are any colored platforms behind them (Which in most cases there will be) then the platforms will usually make it incredibly difficult to see. (and in the case of the yellow ones, impossible)

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.41.04 AM.png

Music and Sound

On the level select menu, you can also choose from three tracks, all of which sound surprisingly good! The default theme is upbeat and cheery, while the Puzzle and Arcade tracks sound nice as well. Bravo to the musician for supplying his songs for the game, because they pretty much outperform every other aspect, including the sound effects, which sound really poor. Some weird muffled voice plays whenever you come in contact with an enemy, and every single time you enter or exit a level there’s this static “pop” sound effect that seems to be the result of crappy optimization, as it plays every single time this happens. In the end, the music ends up being the saving grace of this section.

Gameplay

Reading the (very brief) manual, the game introduces itself as an incredibly simple platformer, where you move with the circle pad, jump with the A button, and collect coins to open up the goal of every stage. You have three hit points, (which are indicated by a wheel at the top of the screen) and touching the enemy ghosts will take one point away while falling off the stage will instantly kill you.

Right off the bat the problems with this game are clear as day, as you are given zero invincibility frames when attacked. In most cases, it’s not too difficult to avoid the enemies as a simple jump will do, but when you’re on a green platform, (Where your movement speed is slowed down tremendously) then the ghosts will shred through your health points no matter what you do, making some levels completely luck based due to these cheap hits. Some levels even like to plop these ghosts all over the place, adding to the frustration factor.

Nevertheless, I did try to complete this game, since the eShop claimed it only had forty levels and I eventually got the hang of the mechanics. Unfortunately, after blazing through 25 levels on my way to school (which was a 20 minute drive by the way) I threw in the towel, mainly due to the fact that the game never felt fun and never offered new to keep things interesting, outside of a few platforms that made you move extra fast or jump really high and the addition of (terrible) swimming areas. If the last 15 levels ended up being the best levels in gaming history, then I sure as heck won’t be playing them since the road to reach that point was a dull, frustrating and lifeless mess that I’d rather not deal with anymore.

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 11.40.52 AM.png

Conclusion

I gave Blockform a look on the eShop before asking for a review copy, and despite the hideous visuals from the screenshots, I still wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, thinking that maybe it would be an enjoyable timewaster with well-made levels, but instead I got something that was even worse than what I expected, with dull levels, cheap deaths, zero creativity and overall is an overpriced piece of garbage that should have never released.

I apologize to the developer if my feedback seems brutal, but never have I been so baffled and confused on a video game in my life! At first it appeared to be a parody of actually bad games, but after playing it and noticing that the game does function and clearly had some sort of work put into it, I’m now convinced this is nothing but a rushed game produced ASAP in order for the developer to claim he had a game on the 3DS eShop. For five dollars, you could choose from the entire NES VC catalog and the majority of the Game Boy Virtual Console, along with many other indie titles that offer a much better value for that price, so whatever you do, NEVER EVER purchase this game, not even if it’s discounted to a single dollar.

The only thing worth remembering from this mess of a game is the music, which was actually pretty decent in comparison to everything else. Alas, it doesn’t save the game itself from being a lifeless experience. I give Blockform a 1 out of 10, and I just can’t recommend this title to anyone, especially for the ludicrous price its going for.

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