Good news: Not only is there a new Boom Blox, it’s even better than last year’s version.
|BOOM BLOX BASH PARTY
Electronic Arts for Wii
Replay Value: 10.0
Overall Score: 9.0
Pros: Many new Versus modes; lots of cool environments; new kinds of blox; downloadable levels.
Cons: No online multiplayer; graphics and music are kind of weak; needs a story.
LOTS OF NEW STUFF
With nearly 450 new levels, Boom Blox Bash Party gives you a lot more to do in both single and multiplayer modes. There are many new features, too, including one that lets you use the remote as a slingshot. And there’s another that spreads explosions like a virus, infecting nearby blox and getting you gems (which turn into fake money to use in the game).
You start out with a tutorial for single players. While many tutorials are boring, this one keeps things short and fast while introducing you to Bash Party’s new features. My favorite is a blue cannon that you light with a virtual match to shoot at blox. When the blox scatter into the air, it’s like a fireworks-filled 4th of July. At other times, you’re able to make the blox shoot like bottle rockets through the air to hit a target. Amazing stuff.
BLOX GO BOOM
The way things move in Bash Party is a marvel in itself. The game makers have tweaked the physics in the design. What’s that mean for you? When buildings, spaceships and other structures explode, it looks like something out of a great action movie.
As far as controls go, use the A button to aim and lock. Then, using a throwing motion, knock blox in the hope that many will fall at once. You can move the camera around using the B button. It’s simple.
Strategy is the key to Boom Blox. If you choose the right place to aim, all the blox might fall at once, domino style. When this happens, it’s really exciting—and it’s a true psych-out when you’re in multiplayer mode.
And you want that to happen in single-player mode, too. Getting a gold coin by knocking everything down in a couple of tries is something you can really boast about. Sometimes, you have to take a few cracks and restart the level. Sure, going for the gold may take longer. But it also extends the playability of the game.
PENGUINS, PIRATES AND MORE
The first environment is a cool amusement park, which you get to explore in single-player mode. Sometimes, you get to shoot characters like blocky lions and penguins through the air. Other times, you’ll play underwater (watch for that weird, tentacled creature emerging from the seabed). Sometimes, you get to play in deep space where there’s no gravity, which is an extra cool challenge.
There are more multiplayer modes this year than last, making this one of the must-have party games for Wii. There are eight multiplayer options in Versus play. One of the best is Pirate Ship Battle in which you fire that cannon to sink the ships of your opponent. Another winner is Space Battle in which you use Bomb Balls to defeat your bud’s spaceship.
MORE UPSIDE THAN DOWN
Unfortunately, there’s no online multiplayer. Game producers and publishers think kids don’t care about playing online. I disagree, and probably you do, too. But you can download levels made by other Bash Party fans (as well as by its top-notch in-house designers). You can upload levels that you create, too, so everyone can share in your genius.
The best thing about the downloadable levels is you can get more of an environment you really like. If you like spooky, for instance, just check online for the dozens of levels with that theme.
There is a downside or two to Bash Party. There should be a story to it. After all, director Steven Spielberg (on whose bright ideas the game is based) has said there could be a movie with the characters in the works. Wouldn’t it be great to know a little about their stories now? What’s the origin of Super Pig or the evil rabbits and their strange robots?
Also, the graphics aren’t the best you’ve ever seen for Wii (a system that isn’t known for its graphical excellence). The background art could be richer with more movement in it. And the music could be a little less like a Saturday morning cartoon soundtrack.
But these are small things. Boom Blox Bash Party is a decent deal at $40. If you have any doubts, you can always rent it first.