Ball throwing goodness
At first, I wasn't really sure what to expect from Boom Blox. On one hand, it looked like a clever game based around a simple, easy-to-learn concept. On another hand, it looked like it might try to rope players in with a gimmicky task, thus churning out another casual party game for the Wii. The result, for better or worse, falls somewhere in between. Boom Blox should appeal to all players to some extent, but might not offer quite enough depth to keep everyone coming back for more.
Boom Blox's biggest strength is also its most prominent- it makes throwing stuff fun. Just like Katamari Damacy made rolling a ball around an absolute blast, Boom Blox makes the act of throwing a ball (be it a baseball, bowling ball, or even a bomb) into a stack of blocks very satisfying. A lot of this satisfaction comes from the dynamic physics that govern matters, and the ease of control makes things that much easier to like. It's great to see all the blocks react in different ways based on where you hit them and how hard you throw the ball. The various challenges also do a great job at keeping things fresh, and the ensuing puzzles really take advantage of what the game does best. My only real problem with this is that it does manage to get stale before too long. I feel like the game carries this simple idea about as far as it could, but it's still only a matter of time before you're simply going through the motions.
While it lasted, I really enjoyed almost all of the ball throwing activities. Unfortunately, once the game tried to have me do other things, I found myself having less fun. The shooting gallery games were much less appealing, as they are simply the same old point and click scenarios we've known for ages. Also, the Jenga style segments were noticeably less "puzzly" than their ball throwing counterparts, and didn't have as much to them as I would have liked. These modes did a decent job at adding some variety, but otherwise were simply not as appealing to me as the block throwing activities. They fair a little better in the game's multiplayer, however, as games like Jenga thrive off of the competitive "Who's going to be the one to make it fall?" vibe. In fact, all of the modes were fairly enjoyable in multiplayer, making Boom Blox a great game to pull out when you have company over. Many of these games do boil down to one "make-or-break" turn, which can be frustrating, and the lack of depth is apparent in the multiplayer modes as well. Otherwise, Boom Blox is a great game for a group to pick up and play for a relatively small period of time.
How much you enjoy a game like Boom Blox depends entirely on what you expect from it. If you're looking for a simple game that's a blast to play in short bursts, possibly with a group, then this is definitely the game for you. If you're looking for a single player game that will last you a decent number of hours, then not so much. Boom Blox is a game that knows its audience, and if you're a member it delivers on all fronts. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.