Boom Blox: Bash Party • Page 2

Brick flair.

The difference, as was so often the case with Boom Blox, is physics. The bounds of the play area wobble and slope away under the outward pressure of the crushing, many-shaped blocks within, which try to fill the space below them any way they can. Whereas a match-3 game rewards precise patterns and the pre-destined ramifications of a block removed, Bash Party's extension of it puts a greater emphasis on what feels like good fortune, but what you know is really a set of calculations. It feels fair, so when it all goes awry you not only accept it, but often enjoy it, and then dive back in for another attempt. The small size of each level supports this too.

Bash Party is more fun to play with other people looking on to share in that, but providing more ways for them to get involved wasn't a bad idea either, and the few I've played with EA staff have distorted the existing rules in healthy ways. Multiplayer games involving the slingshot work particularly well, especially the Heroic zone's super-pig levels, where you can immediately gather 50 extra points by using a jetpack-strapped pig to take out stacks of blocks, but where carefully considered domino-effect attacks from other angles with ordinary props are sometimes more lucrative.

Across the modes, level design changes radically from task to task, which is surprising for a game promising over 400 separate challenges. One level is a spiralling wall topped with dreidel-shaped point-block formations, which look as though they should be eager to topple into one another but prove surprisingly reluctant to do so until you find the right angle. The next level might be a big flat negative-point platform on a stick, with a range of blocks stacked on top which you have to remove one by one without unbalancing it. The next still might be nine plinths, with little block houses stacked on them, some distance apart, inviting you to contemplate inventive chains.

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The cannon levels give you set projectile options. As ever, the B-button camera lets you see pretty much what you need to, but not to the point of eliminating doubt.

There's also the new Boom Bux currency to amass, which allows you to buy your way into the next available task (even if you bought your way into the current one), providing you have enough money. It's a pretty standard idea, but its presence in Bash Party is another sensible decision geared towards releasing the fun to players. And that's what Bash Party quietly gets on with throughout, winning you over with its carefully concealed subtlety.

It's easy to see where it might go wrong - the new controls might be too fiddly, and those vacuum and water levels might sound better on paper, for instance. It's also going to be a lot of work to keep up the quality for 400 tasks. But EA would probably counter that the ability to share your levels and grab the best of your fellow players' from within the same menu as the core modes is a great life support system, and that the original Boom Blox itself should underwrite the benefit of the doubt. Not that Bash Party really needs any, because on this evidence it's looking very promising.

Boom Blox: Bash Party is due out exclusively for Wii next month. Retailers reckon 22nd May.

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About the author

Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

Contributor

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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