The Blocks Cometh Review

The Blocks Cometh Review

Jan 13, 2015

If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be inside of the sloppiest game of Tetris ever, The Blocks Cometh provides such an experience. It’s a small platformer with a surprisingly difficult gameplay that requires quick reaction and a bit of forward thinking. The player chooses between a roster of varied unlockable characters, and three different game modes, and then is thrown under a barrage of falling debris. His task is to climb as high as possible, jumping in-between the pillars of boxes that are forming around him. This seems like a simple task, but there’s not a lot of place to maneuver, so the game consists of lots of close escapes and risky jumps. I’ve found myself failing quite a lot in the beginning, and getting better at it feels pretty satisfying – especially when you finally figure out how to jump in-between falling boxes, and stop forgetting that you can destroy them with your weapon, if you get trapped.

Besides beating a high-score, there’s a number of challenges in The Blocks Cometh that allow the player to unlock additional characters. The characters are quite The Blocks Cometh 2different and provide the game with some much needed variety. Some of them can perform double-jumps, others can destroy boxes with a single blow, and others are just fun to play. A lot of them are also alluding to other games or persons, like Destructoid‘s famous reviewer, Jim Sterling.

While all the characters differ from each other, the game modes aren’t really. They only differ in the speed of the falling boxes and the number of lives a player gets per run. Basically, the difference is negligible, while it would be highly beneficial for the game to have more of that variety. The Blocks Cometh can definitely become repetitive after a while.

Overall, The Blocks Cometh is a fun platformer that’s definitely worth checking out. Don’t get fooled by its simple, arcade-like appearance, as it packs a lot of challenge. It only takes a second of distraction to get crushed in-between the damn boxes.

The Hills Are Greener: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Villainy?

The Hills Are Greener: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Villainy?

Aug 29, 2011

Cloning has been a hot-button issue in mobile gaming as of late; games that lift their art and game concepts wholesale from either popular games or games on other platforms. This is especially an issue on Android, where the less restrictive policies of the Android Market make it easier for apps of dubious legality, though even Apple’s stringent review process has led to several games that are blatant rip-offs of other games.

In many of these cases, the best solution for the infringed has been to just jump on to the platform where the infringement is occuring, in order to capitalize on the interest there. There were numerous illegitimate clones of Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and Fruit Ninja on Android before their official launches. Flash developer Halfbot made their own version of The Blocks Cometh after EdisonGame ripped them off by releasing their own identically-titled game on the iOS App Store which also used a character sprite from another Flash game, League of Evil. Vlambeer, developers of Radical Fishing, are releasing a sequel for iOS after the game Ninja Fishing lifted the core gameplay almost wholesale from Radical Fishing. As well, they’re working with Halfbot to bring their other Flash game Super Crate Box to the iOS App Store.

I’ve had discussions with developers on the ‘cloned’ side of the cloning discussion, and while there is both disappointment and outrage over the violations, there’s also a despair over the fact that not much could be done about it. Either the games are just dissimilar enough to make legal claims non-pursuable, or the legal battle would likely be costlier than the possible money that could be made from a case. Many of these developers are trapped, because their games are ripe for the picking to be repurposed on mobile platforms by developers looking for an easy buck.

While the morality of cloning has come into question, especially when no specific art assets are re-used, it has led to an interesting discussion. What is it about game concepts that makes them more disposable and ripe for lifting than when art is stolen from these games? One could make a case that a game like Angry Birds isn’t really all that different from the Ninja Fishing debacle on iOS, because Angry Birds shares many similar mechanics with other physics puzzlers. What makes Ninja Fishing so bad in comparision? Game concepts are so intangible, and the language so indefinite that it is difficult to even discuss properly.

But these are things that must be discussed, because they are very important. Mobile gaming is becoming big business, and when independent developers are ripped off, it only hurts the reputation of mobile platforms. While the gatekeepers need to do a better job at preventing these apps of dubious copyright status to appear, is there anything that can be done about cloning? Or is there any way to properly define cloning at all? If not, then is there any good way to say that it’s wrong?