Those of you now nearing old age may remember a precious period in the early 1990s which saw so-called “children’s games” actually be of a relatively decent quality. These carefree days may have long passed. However, I’m glad to say that the EA/Steven Spielberg collaboration, Boom Blox, reminds one of the simple pleasures of such times and is one of the most enjoyable, satisfying titles available for the Wii.
Possibly best described as the bastard child of Jenga and Bust-a-Move, Boom Blox sees you work through several variants of knocking down blocks with various different projectiles in order to fulfil objectives. And it’s all sheer primal destructive fun, the game providing a brilliantly kinetic physics engine which ensures that the proceedings carry a realistic sense of weight and thus progress proves satisfying.
A nice little adventure mode is also included, seeing you play through an assortment of twee storylines involving lost kittens and the like. However, the mechanics never grow old due to the game constantly providing you with different situations, rules and objectives, variable as they are in quality. Indeed, the shooting sections which see you merely taking down hordes of enemies never raises the bar from the simple puzzle thrills of the earlier levels, however there still remain more hits than misses overall. The excellent level editor also ensures that your own block-derived fantasies can be fulfilled and even shared over the internet. Couple these with over 300 levels and EA are clearly showing some uncharacteristic generosity.
But what is crucial is that the game never annoys, perfecting the idea of “easy to grasp, hard to master” which is so evident in all great games. Boom Blox is immaculately presented and thoroughly charming to the last, right down to its quaint musical chimes. If you long for the simple, inoffensive pleasures of yesteryear, look no further because Boom Blox is not only the best puzzler on the Wii but also a bloody good stress relief toy during exams.