Bloxiq

Bloxiq Review

A puzzler for those who solve Rubik's Cubes in their sleep

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation Vita on

ESRB Everyone rating

The 3D puzzle genre needs to be revived and Bloxiq may have what it takes to resuscitate it. Although recent puzzlers are targeted towards casual gamers, the incredible challenge to be found here means that only brainiacs need apply. Are you smart enough to take on this game of multi-dimensional strategy or are you satisfied to just crush candy for the rest of your life?

Bloxiq screenshot 1
The best part of going to the mountains is solving cube-based puzzles that float in the sky

Bloxiq is played by rotating a giant cube that's composed of 64 smaller cubes. To perform moves, you hold a button while swiping a circumference of cubes to slide them around the playfield. You also have access to the central eight cubes by spreading your fingers apart to zoom in and pinching them together to zoom back out. The point is to make matches of at least four identically coloured cubes by simply making them touch. If you manage to erase multiple colours at once then you get a Multimatch while Chains can be achieved by blocks that fall into the center after a match is made. If your brain already hurts then pop some methylphenidate because it's about to get even more intense. As you progress, you'll encounter special blocks that cannot be moved, explode after a number of moves have been executed, alter the amount of remaining moves, and finally blocks that transform upon being matched. Having to match blocks in three dimensions is enough to make even the brightest puzzler fan's jaw drop, but incorporating all of these complexities will probably make them either delight in the challenge or have to wear a straitjacket. Overall, it may be brutally challenging but that makes being able to progress feel all the more satisfying.

As you play around with the puzzles, you'll be happy to see how clear the visuals are. Every block is easily distinguishable and the heads-up display only shows valuable information. The diverse assortment of backdrops helps create a constantly changing experience. As you rotate the playfield, the backgrounds rotate with it which gives a nauseating vibe yet the effect matches the intense gameplay perfectly. Audio cues help you get in the rhythm of sliding and executing moves with their unambiguous yet subtle tones while the music is top-notch as it always fits the environment beautifully. You'll hear trippy beats in the tutorial stages, Egyptian rhythms in the tombs, chilly synths in ice caves, and a reflective number in the menu. It's definitely a well put together package with solid production values.

Bloxiq screenshot 2
Things start to get tricky when you can't move certain blocks

To add even more challenge to the equation, Bloxiq has many elements that may frustrate impatient gamers all while providing even more of a reward to true puzzle enthusiasts. Failure comes in many forms such as having less than four of a colour remaining, allowing a bomb to explode, or simply running out of time or moves. Executing moves is incredibly easy to do, so you must be careful at every step. If you hold a button but don't slide any blocks then a move is used upon releasing the button. Thankfully, you can cancel by the tap of another button. However, this also means that failing a puzzle can be a result of you accidentally using up a move. Screwing up like this causes further frustration when you realise that there's no way to undo or rewind. In the end, if you carefully plan ahead and learn how to not make silly mistakes then the frustration factor will be minimal, but that requires a great deal of patience and discipline.

The entirety of the game consists of an enormous campaign with 100 levels. The difficulty curve is implemented wonderfully. You'll quickly master the basics after completing the tutorial while the rest of the journey becomes increasingly challenging as new mechanics are introduced just when you master the previous ones. Levels might feature constraints such as a time limit or having to complete it within a given number of moves while the rest allow you to take your time which helps mix things up even further. Although there aren't any extras included, the immense campaign will surely keep you busy enough to more than get your money's worth.

Bloxiq screenshot 3
This puzzle is literally a ticking time bomb

Bloxiq does a brilliant job of breathing life into the 3D puzzle genre. Although casual players won't be able to handle the intense challenge, hardcore puzzle-inclined minds will be captivated by the richly strategic and ultimately rewarding gameplay.

  • + Mind-blowingly challenging and satisfying 3D puzzle mechanics
  • + Massive and diverse 100 level campaign
  • + Fantastic visuals and soundtrack
  • - Way too difficult to widely recommend
  • - No undo or rewind feature makes small mistakes have devastating consequences
8.2 out of 10
Official trailer for Bloxiq 1:33

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