The original Boom Blox may have been a critical hit, but it never quite sold up to expectations.
This time around, the developers appear to have focused most of their efforts on beefing up the multiplayer and making it a faster, more engaging experience.
What It Is
The next iteration of Steven Spielberg's Boom Blox increases the focus on group play, highlighting the ability for gamers to play together or against one another in a series of challenges and mini games.
Boom Blox Bash Party has about twice as much multiplayer as the original title and a bit more single player, with close to 450 levels shipping with the game. The game also has four new worlds with different environmental affects on the blox and supports the ability to create and share levels without the need of friend codes.
What We Saw
I played several games with three others using a variety of new tools like the virus ball, canon and slingshot.
How Far Along Is it?
The game is beta with the team concentrating on fixing bugs. The Wii game is do out in spring, likely May.
What Needs Improvement?
Box Art: Wow, that's some ugly box art. The attention diverting yellow band is augmented by a single sentence pitch in the middle of the box. Let's sex it up, maybe get Spielberg to whip something up for you.
What Needs to Stay the Same?
The New Modes: My chief complaint with the last game was that there weren't enough ways for me to play it with my son. In fact, the multiplayer modes felt so lacking that we ended up charging through the single player levels by passing the remote. With more than twice as many ways to play together and tons of new modes, I can't see that being a problem this time around.
Interactive Characters: The characters are stackable, and when stacked their frozen like blocks, but once freed some of them get up to mischief. The monkey, for instance, will start whipping things at other characters in the game as you play.
Environments: The introduction of setting in space and underwater add a whole new facet to the game. When playing in space you have to knock floating blocks out of a transparent grid. While playing underwater you have to knock your blocks to the awaiting pirate ship on the surface.
New Blox and Balls: The virus ball infects the blocks it touches, which explode and infect other nearby boxes causing a chain reation. The cannon can blow apart walls of blox and the slingshot turns anything, including characters into a projectile.
Boom Bux: With the addition of collectible Boom Bux hidden on every level, players can now unlock the game in any order they'd like. Just spend the cash to go and play how you want.
The developers seem to have concentrated on trying to maintain everything that was good with the original game, while beefing up the areas that were dinged the first time around.
While I love that they've doubled the multiplayer, something that makes this a must buy for me, I'm still doubtful that the single player experience will deliver the story and action that so many felt was lacking the first time around.