Release Date:August 01, 2009
Summary:Block Drop is an addicting strategy/puzzle game featuring 3D graphics and dynamically generated music.
Epiphany came amidst my overwealming stress of keeping my two jobs and my sanity in the kind of balance you achieve while sparring with a bear. This delightful moment of clarity: one advantage of having an iPhone is an immediate escape from reality through apps. One way to do so is become immersed within one of the iPhone game apps, thus this week’s theme of Games!
Recently I came across Block Drop, an addicting 3D strategy/puzzle game. Unlike many other games, Block Drop has no time limit. What kept me playing level after level was not the driving adrenaline found in some popular tap-mashing competitions, but the increasing challenge of each level. Developer Dan Russell-Pinson did a masterful job creating a game that is both simple and sophisticated so that all levels will be able to play and enjoy Block Drop.
I found Block Drop was able to pull me away from my stressful bear-wrangling day and into a serene abstract setting of a glassy water surface mirroring a shifting beautiful sky with meditative music. Perhaps this combined with the problem solving focus led me to a meditative state that kept me pursuing a oneness throughout the game: bring the diamond to the checkerboard – ok, so the diamond and checkerboard are a bit arbitrary, but don’t let that hold you back. This is a simple task with increasingly difficult means of completing it.
You can move the diamond up, down, left, or right one or two spaces. You cannot move diagonally (which I’ll go into later as a strategic element). The controls are simple as are the levels in the beginning, but with time you will find a challenge.
Around level 25 things started to get a bit more challenging for me as strategy began to come into play. I won’t outline too much, so that you can learn for yourself. I will comment that the learning curve for the strategies that I came across were wonderfully paced for me. Admittedly, I wasn’t won over until about level 28 or so when I finally thought, “Ok, now I’m in the game.”
If you haven’t figured it out I’m a sucker for strategy games, and this one fit with my current Block Drop Zen-like experience as there is no time limit. Beyond that, you can fail as many times as you need to until you get it right. With the stress-free element of Block Drop it’s like the doctor proscribed an iPhone app for this week’s anxiety (bear wrangling from 9 to 5, with overtime of robot fighting has left me a little drained).
You do come across a time limit in the Survival levels, which I was not impressed by. These are levels where a path of blocks pops up from the water and you must follow on top of them before the block you are on descends. Think of riding on Atari’s Centipede, minus all the shooting, and eating, and… well maybe it isn’t much like it other than a moving chain of blocks. Once you get to the checkerboard, you move on to the next strategy level.
I found a good challenge both with strategy related elements as well as the layout because as things get harder, eventually you cannot see some blocks, so you start relying on your map a bit more. You quickly learn that you must leave a trail for yourself otherwise you make diagonal islands (that’s the only strategy advice I’ll give you – I know it was priceless information, right? Now you can wrangle your own bears, my young padawan).
Block Drop either alludes to arcade games, or tries to tap into the social element that has become integral to video game marketing today, by allowing you to add your high score to the list. The reason that it is one or the other, is that I’m not sure if the top score is merely coded within my downloaded version, or if this is a live updating list. For those who are curious, there is no mystery to your score, it is just the level number you have attained.
Bottom line is that this is really a stressfree game which I would suggest to anyone who enjoys strategy games. My suggestions to the player at higher levels is to keep going even if you know you’ve messed up. It helped me to have a dry run of the area knowing that I would have to do it again. You tend to take more chances, which helps build your strategy arsenal.
Once you are done with the game (or see your boss coming around the corner on the webcam you installed inside of the thermostat – you clever dog, you), you may open it up again at a later point and choose which difficulty level to begin from at the opening screen. The levels that you have reached are the only ones available.
Once re-opened, the challenge will be at a similar level, but the blocks will be in different places. My single complaint with this app occurred when returning to the game after getting a call, I started at the same difficulty number but a different level appears. This happened to me at level 35, and I had been working at a strategy for at least ten minutes. I received a wrong number call and when I returned to the game afterwards, I was faced with a similarly difficult level only one I had never seen it before. All of my hard work of planning and countless failing was for nothing but passing the time (which I suppose ultimately is what I’m doing since playing Block Drop will not win me a Nobel prize).
All things considered, this is one of my favorite games so far and is definitely worth the ninetynine cents I spent. Word on the virtual street is that there will be a lite version out soon too.
With plenty of addicting games out there (Tap Tap Revenge, Tap Star, Guitar Rock Tour, Razor Reef Brain Addiction), this one will remain on my iPhone when I run out of space (not that the others won’t – I love them all, just some more than others).