Boom: A True Blockbuster
Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" won't be his only blockbuster this summer. The Oscar-winning director is a big gamer (he likes to play with his kids). His first of three original games in collaboration with Electronic Arts is for Nintendo's Wii.
Aimed at all ages, Boom Blox is a variation of the simple "destroy the blocks" game. Boom Blox offers more than 400 levels, but it comes with a level editor that allows gamers to create their own challenges and share online via WiiConnect. The gameplay is easy to learn; anyone can jump right in. The Wii remote is used by up to four players to take turns throwing an object, such as a baseball or explosive bombs, at a structure to bring it down in the fewest number of tries.
The blocks all use physics, which adds another dimension to competition. Multiple remotes can be used simultaneously in some modes. There are many variations of the basic gameplay, which can get complex. The Tiki Tower Topple level was inspired by billiards; Puck Attack is an on-ice variation of shuffleboard.
Other levels require players to earn the most points by knocking down blocks assigned numbers. It's a lot harder than it sounds. Boom Blox offers three prizes per level (bronze, silver and gold), which allows novices more chances to complete a level and challenges veteran gamers with fewer tries.
Block-shaped animals with offensive and defensive capabilities create even more challenges. For example, chicken Marion McCluck lays bomb blocks instead of eggs. They can be used to blow up other blocks in a level.
Add such themes as a haunted house, and this is a party game the entire family can enjoy. It's the kind of addictive and fun gameplay experience that Nintendo usually creates on its own. That's how good Spielberg's first collaboration with EA is.
-- John Gaudiosi
Boom Blox Everyone; Nintendo Wii ($50) Electronic Arts/EA LA Studio Boom Blox Everyone; Nintendo Wii ($50) Electronic Arts/EA LA Studio