I’ve never been very good at Jenga. My hands are too big, and they shake a lot. I reach for a piece, and it just topples over. I am pretty good at Boom Blox, though.
Boom Blox is a new video game from Electronic Arts and Stephen Spielberg. It’s basically a collection of smaller games where you knock things over, blow things up, and move things around; all while using the Wiimote as your tool. Sometimes you throw a bomb at a bunch of blocks trying to knock gems off of a tower. Sometimes you throw a bowling ball at a bridge, hoping to knock some parts off but not others, and in the game that is the most addictive, you play Jenga. Just don’t call it that, please.
The multiplayer games on this disc are just awesome. In the Jenga variation, you have towers of sticks, and you use the Wiimote to grab certain of these sticks and then pull them out of the tower, hoping not to topple it over. If you topple it over, you’ll likely lose. There is this amazing tension when you pull them out, and the not-quite-realistic-but-maybe-it-is-I’m-not-a-physicist-so-I-can’t-be-sure gravity starts moving the tower ever so slightly, and you tense up and hope it doesn’t all fall over. When playing with friends, the trash talking opportunities are countless.
There’s also a game where there are towers full of blocks, and some of the blocks are worth points, and others will make you lose points. You take turns throwing a ball at the towers, and trying to knock the point blocks to the ground while keeping the penalty blocks on the tower. This game can get overly lopsided scores in a hurry, so sometimes you’ll want to spend your turn throwing your ball at the annoying block animals that mock you when you do poorly. When you hit them, they flop around and then disappear in very entertaining ways.
Another game is a bit of shuffleboard variant. Each player has blocks of their color, and they are trying to move them along the ice into scoring areas. You throw a ball at your blocks to move them, and you can also try hitting your block into your opponents’ blocks to knock them off the playing field. This game has amazing screw-your-neighbor opportunities, and could start fights in the wrong group.
There’s also some shooting games, and some blowing-stuff-up-real-good games, and some games I probably haven’t unlocked yet. All in all, Boom Blox is wicked fun as a multiplayer game. My flatmate and her boyfriend played for 4 hours on consecutive days. They would never admit this, but the Wii is kind enough to email me how often my games are played. (If Wii ever adds an “adult channel,” hopefully this channel won’t report its use.)
The single player game is a bit challenging, but bores me to tears. It’s more of a puzzle affair. Once you figure out where to hit the tower or how to pull the sticks, the actual doing of them isn’t too hard. And if I screw it up, which I’m always likely to do, it’s pretty forgiving of errors. It’s a pretty good game to play for someone who sucks at video games, and I’m thankful for that. It was probably made for kids; who knows? I never pay attention to stuff like that. A fun game is a fun game.
Go ahead and get Boom Blox for your Wii if you ever have friends come over who are tired of Wii Sports. It’s the next best competitive multiplayer experience going. (Will anything ever be better for parties than Wii Sports Bowling?)