Boom Blox (Nintendo Wii)

Steven Spielberg wanted a way to play games the whole family can enjoy. Let’s see how Boom Blox stax up…

Those of us who grew up with Steven Spielberg know how crazy the guy can be. From movies like Indiana Jones to animated series including Animaniacs & Freakazoid, Spielberg has always been about bringing the family together.

Things haven’t changed with Boom Blox, a new game from Electronic Arts and Steven Spielberg that was created to give him the opportunity to sit down with his kids and play a game that the entire family could enjoy.

And it’s so fun, that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll probably get a kick out of some part.

Boom Blox puts you in charge of all manner of block types. There are explosive blocks, chemical blocks, point blocks, vanishing blocks, steel blocks, gem blocks, and wood blocks and they all do something slightly different when they come in contact with each other. Bang two of the green chemical blocks together and you get an explosion or just set off an explosion block and other blocks will fly everywhere in an explosion of colour and animal blocks.

And while the explosive nature of Boom Blox might seem violent, it’s anything but that. Boom Blox has the violent nature of a Looney Tunes or Animaniacs cartoon with cute block based barnyard animals being tossed into logical puzzles that you’ll have to solve with physical skills and explosions. Lots of explosions.

For instance, you might have to knock down a castle with a bunch of gems at the top. Well, simply look around the castle in the 3D engine to find your weakest point and then chuck a baseball at the point using your Wiimote. If you’ve hit on cue, the structure will come tumbling down with a pile of gems turning into points as each one falls to the ground.

Or you can just throw a few random balls at the creatures in the back and hear them go flying.

Boom Blox is a single-player game with multiplayer capabilities and while we won’t talk about how EA have tried giving Boom Blox a story, what you should know is that there are around 300 single-player games for you to push, pull, throw, and explode your way through. Then you can grab your kids and play through around 100 multiplayer games that can be played between four players.

And then to give you even more for your money, Spielberg saw fit to give families exactly what they need to get a whole family night going as Boom Blox has a create your own level mode. The Create mode is quite easy although having the same controls as the rest of the game for rotation would have been nice as it can take a bit of getting used to when your Nunchuk doesn’t quite have the same level of control as the rest of the game.

You’ll be able to create your level with blocks, props, structures, and characters that you’ll earn while playing the regular game. When you’re done, hit the play button and you’ll be sent in game to play your very own level. If you’re on an Internet connected Wii, you can head online where you can send levels to your friends and vice versa.

Boom Blox is one of those games that’s very easy to get into. It’s fun, colourful, and simple, but it might be a let down if you’re one of those people who gets used to things too easily.

For how much fun it is initially, it’s probably one of those games best not to play alone. We tried that here and while it was always funny, the games can wear on you and become a little easy to play. There’s always loads more levels, but sometimes more of the same isn’t what you’re going to want.

There also isn’t a lot of sound going for it and while the music is cheerful and the sound sparse, it too is probably better off with the laughter of kids and family members in the background than excess cheesy music.

When it’s all said and done though, you have to give Spielberg credit where credit is due. While I had initially hoped for a game much like Animaniacs when I had heard he were working on one, Boom Blox pulls off a colourful experience unlike any other. It’s sort of like a mish-mash of Lego, Jenga, Tetris, and dynamite, and that makes it fun & unique in my book… and probably everyone else’s too.

Developer: EA LA
Publisher: EA
Classification: G
Formats: Nintendo Wii
URL: Boom Blox

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark