Bloom Box is a new game from Nexx Studio that banks on the cuteness of the titular flora from Plants vs. Zombies and seeks to get us jamming our thinking caps on our heads. Does this puzzler cause a chain reaction of fun that will have you tapping on your screen for hours upon hours? Or will the fun have wilted away, long before it's gotten cozy in your iOS device?
I'd like to start off the review by admitting that I didn't read the description, see any screenshots, or even really pay attention to the game's name before I started playing it for review. You see, I actually thought I was going to play an iOS port of Boom Blox, the destructive puzzle game on the Wii. Nope. Bloom Box is what I got, along with a bit of disappointment.
That disappointment, however, would be short-lived since I found myself actually enjoying the game, despite its lack of block towers and explosions. Well, that's a lie. It does have "explosions," but they're in the form of little seeds, launched from boxes, that cause flowers to bloom where they land, thus the name "Bloom Box."
The object is to shoot the initial seed from the flower, located below the fence, and then set off a chain reaction that causes all of the other blocks to "explode" and shoot their seeds around to create flowers. In order to maximize your score, you have to get the seeds to land on the stars that are littered around the fields. Failing to get every box to explode will prompt you to scratch your head and restart, since you can't continue onto other levels without solving previous ones first.
Each block has a pattern on it that indicates how they'll explode. These explosions can either explode in the form of a cross, diagonally, in crescents, and even in larger, more spaced out crosses. Tapping on a square will show you where its seeds will land, so you can plan out exactly where to place other blocks in order to create a chain reaction that ignites all of the blocks and collects all of the stars.
I'll admit that it was tricky at first and made me feel like a total dunce, but nothing beats that feeling of conquering a level in the fewest moves possible and hitting all of your marks. The trickiest levels involves multiple types of blocks, impassable holes in the ground, and fixed boxes that can't be moved around the field. These take a little extra time to solve, but are ultimately the most satisfying.
If you get stuck, you can tap on the little plane that whizzes around on the top of screen, which will then bring up an option share your screen on Facebook or Twitter. This can be a double-edged sword, since, depending on your friends, you'll either be assisted or ridiculed. But should you run out of patience and don't feel like gathering all of the stars required to unlock other worlds, you can buy a handy Unlock All item for $0.99. As much as I don't like in-app purchases, this one is completely optional and is a small price to pay for one's sanity.
You could spend hours playing this game, but it's one of those titles that warrants play that's been spread out over a long period of time. There's not much in the way of longevity here, so don't expect to keep coming back after you've earned three stars for all of the levels in each of the four worlds. You won't find any competition in the form of leaderboards in this game either, since it's purely a problem-solving game. Sorry, showboaters.
But if you want a cheap, but surprisingly solid game that will grab your attention for bits at a time, then Bloom Box is definitely one to get. After all, what could be more fun than proving to a machine that you're smarter than it? It may not be Boom Blox, but this little puzzler manages to topple a lot of other titles in the App Store.
App Store Link: Bloom Box for iPhone | By Nexx Studio| Price: Free/$0.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 21.2 MB | Rating 4+