HairyBlox [rating: 3/5]
HairyBlox is an interesting little game from BlazingCow Limited. A variation on the Tetris / Bejewelled genre of games, it presents an easy to use interface and immediate fun. Unfortunately, it seems like a half realized idea that could be make much better with a little tweaking.
In HairyBlox you control one of the titular creatures in an attempt to keep others of its kind from advancing on your position. The playing field consists of 5 columns with differing numbers of advancing creatures in different colors. The object of the game is to keep the creatures in any column from filling the column and reaching your position. To keep this from happening you use your HairyBlox to hit the other creatures in the column. The wrinkle is that in order to clear a creature from the column it must match the color of your creature. If you hit a creature that is not the same color as your’s, the colors are switched. This can be a complication if you make a misstep but also strategic when you need to change colors to clear another column. All of this is accomplished if a tap interface that is very easy to pick up. Just tap below the column you want to work in and the creature does the work for you.
From an enjoyment point of view, HairyBlox is a fun little game. The interface is simple, the action is initially entertaining, and the requirement to think strategically to accomplish a task has the same allure as other block matching games. Unfortunately HairyBlox does fall short in a couple of departments.
First off is the leveling system. The HairyBlox advertisement in the App Store promises that “The fun never ends; Our ‘Infinite Play System’ includes over Ninety nine progressively frantic levels.” What this really means is that the only levels available to the player are those they have already achieved. There is no user option to select any of the ninety-nine levels that you haven’t worked up to. Although I certainly respect the design decision, I’ve already pointed out in a couple of other recent reviews that I think leveling should be a user option. If the user wants to challenge themselves with a level they haven’t worked up to, let them. You could even have two game arcs; the campaign / earn your way arc that already exists in the game and a free play option where the user is able to explore any level they choose.
The second is an achievement system. With social platform such as OpenFeint available, integrating a global high score and achievements system couldn’t be easier. The age of social gaming is here and those games that ignore it will be found to be lacking. Even a simple global high score board would be preferable to nothing at all. Currently HairyBlox only displays the local high score and highest level achieved.
The last is multiplayer options. HairyBlox only features a single player mode where it could easily feature, at the very least, a two player competitive mode. Again, the iPhone and its capabilities have really enabled social gaming and most games now implement some type of multiplayer mode.
Don’t get me wrong though, HairyBlox is an enjoyable game. I just think this current version of the game has limitations that should be addressed. Popularity and success are not only determined by how many people play your game but how many people keep playing your game. At this point I think that HairyBlox would just be to easy to put down.
- Inventive variation of block matching game
- Easy interface
- Initially challenging
The Not So Good:
- Locked leveling system
- No global high score or achievement system
- No multiplayer options
Reviewed by: Erin Peterson