8-bit puzzling never felt so addictive
I admire the Xbox Live Arcade. Its released a treasure trove of games where no gem is hidden and proven to inhale many hours of my life thanks to most of its addictive titles. If there’s one department that gather dust and pixels on my Xbox however, it’s the Indie section. For every fantastic addition, there’s an instalment of Rainmaker Hero or some sort of vase simulator to quash the quality of titles. Thankfully, Pixel Blocked! exclaims itself in the marketplace as an shining example of fun and addictive simplicity.
A constant battle with spatial awareness and logic, Pixel Blocked! relies on you filling in the gaps of pre-made patterns with a brick-firing cannon. It would be a simple task if gravity didn’t come into it. Fire a block at an intended gap with absolutely no resistance, and the precious block will just fly off into the air. Don’t plan ahead, and you’ll find yourself unwittingly surrounding that one final gap and having to restart the whole puzzle again. There’s a whole lot of trial and error involved, but you can’t help but feel quietly smug as you slowly crack the increasingly difficult dilemmas.
The 186 puzzles offer a fun if not massively daunting gauntlet of mind-mangling amusement, but if you really want to earn bragging rights, each puzzle comes with its own three star ranking system. If you make a mistake and misplace a block, you can blow it up with a limited supply of missiles, but not using these earns you a star. You’re given all the time in the world to assemble assortments of shapes, but build it in lightning speed and you’ll get a star. Even when you complete a puzzle and sit there with pride, the lonely star you obtain for finishing off the level just niggles with your brain, and you just have to make another attempt to perfect it.
One of the first Indie titles that I’d absolutely love to see some DLC for
And that’s where Pixel Blocked! requires some true skill to perfect. Completing shapes without your explosive lifelines requires some true brainpower and the target times for each are outstandingly short that it requires almost ninja like skill to even beat within milliseconds. This may prove a turn off to those who view such obscene times as an impossibility, but the stubborn WILL view these as a challenge of merits, and it has kept me hooked for far longer than the game should have.
The simple block building and busting graphics don’t wow, but do the job to a tee, offering a basic layout with sparks of retro charm. The ever repeating soundtrack does pretty much the same job, not truly making an impact on your senses, but still managing to soothe you into the casualness of the gameplay well.
A perfect blend of Picross and Tetris, Pixel Blocked! is a fresh and fun puzzler that you’ll probably want to press charges against for slaughtering your spare time with its addictive charms. It’s certainly one of the more unique puzzle games on the market these days, and dare I say one of the first Indie titles that I’d absolutely love to see some DLC for. For just a quid, it’s certainly a worthy addition to anyone who wants a challenge from their daily sudoku.
The Bad: Some target times to complete are just plain insane, Repetitive music can grate if the addictive gameplay ropes you in for hours