Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
When Square Enix announced their greater push into mobile game development earlier this year, I questioned if the Japanese publisher could effectively make inroads into both Western games (with a cadre of Eidos IPs) and the fluidly competitive iOS and Android markets. Now I feel like they've struck the perfect chord for kids and anyone who grew up with Rocko's Modern Life or enjoyed a bowl of Lucky Charms.
Motley Blocks is part Picross, part sugar, and as light and fast as puzzle games come. After a blocky figure or shape explodes on your screen, you'll have to tap and swipe pieces to reform the puzzle before time runs out. Can the free-to-play iOS original delight, or is your time on the bus better spent elsewhere?
The key to Motley Blocks is making efficient use of your dwindling time. You can tap every block as it goes by (if you're fast) but you'll score points and clear the puzzle faster if you draw lines from block to block and clear scores of pieces at a time.
Early puzzles might be binary, featuring only two colors and plenty of opportunity for exceedingly high scores. Later levels include more colors, more blocks, a finer mix of colors, or even power-up blocks. One such power up acts as a bomb, clearing the bits floating around it. As tempted as you might be to string every piece in a color together, you'll likely bump into another color and drop your combo.
Remember, if you take too long to clear the puzzle, you'll fail. Motley Blocks makes that delicate balance as difficult as the one a kid makes on Saturday morning. How many bowls of sugar cereal can you eat before you're caught? How long will you last before parents and chores come calling? (This isn't a personal analogy, I swear...)
While the premise seems simple enough, it can be confusing at first, but Square Enix capitalizes on the kind of sweet, colorful pop Nickelodeon commercials are made of. The result is a deliciously addictive puzzler with a penchant for demolition and reconstruction.
If you prefer your puzzles to require more thought, Motley Blocks probably isn't for you, but building an item back together, piece by piece, makes for a worthwhile time waster. Motley Blocks is available in both free-to-play and paid versions, so check the game out and spring for the later levels when you're sweet tooth kicks in.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on iOS version.
Music, color, and a zany sensibility
Go for broke with combo scores
Challenging time restraints
Free-to-play or pay to unlock more levels
Marshmallows in cereal was so cool
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