Blocks That Matter

Blocks That Matter is a platform puzzle game by Swing Swing Submarine, featuring a tiny robot, blocks and puzzles.. another game with blocks?  Minecraft really has set the trend.. 🙂

The adventure mode is called The Underground Rescue, and it starts with the story of Indie Game Devs in Trouble.  A pair of indie developers have been working on a secret project which their fans have been anticipating just a little too much.. they decide they don’t want to wait any more..

The devs are kidnapped and held hostage with instructions to complete their game overnight.. however, their secret project isn’t a game but a little robot, the Tetrobot, which is sitting de-activated in their office.  To help them, you need to get him up and running!

In the first level, you are only able to collect blocks by bashing into them with your head.  Once you have collected four blocks, the first upgrade station unlocks; going into it awards you the first upgrade.. the drill!

The drill allows collection of more blocks.. sand, wood and stone at this point, more types to come in later levels.

Your next upgrade teaches you to combine your blocks into Tetrominos, Tetris-blocks which you use to help you jump up to other parts of the map to gather other blocks, reach more upgrade points, or get to the exit portal.

Each portal moves you a little bit closer to the devs!

There are also a few enemies.. slimes!  The small ones can be jumped easily.. contact with them more than once will result in them triggering your nanoreset, and you start the level again.  You can trigger this yourself if stuck by holding down the W key: the first time you do this you get an achievement: Someone did it wrong!

The big one, though..

She chased me through one level.. a frantic dash for the exit portal, broken up by entering puzzle mode to create tetromino stairs and platforms to jump gaps.  Maybe she was mad with me because I killed some of the smaller slimes by dropping blocks on them 😉

Sand falls if there is nothing supporting it, so if you drill out the block underneath it, or explode a row of eight blocks, and the sand will fall onto whatever is underneath.  This can be used to kill slimes, to provide a step to climb on, or used in the construction of a tetromino where you don’t want all four blocks to stay put.. all depending on the puzzle you’re trying to solve.

I can see the game getting frustrating later, as any mistakes are punished with the need to nanoreset, and return to the start of the level.

In addition to the Adventure Mode, there is a set of chocolate-themed bonus levels, from the Chocolate Update.. starting with Chocolate Rain.  Many blocks have been switched out for chocolate, and the puzzles here involve having the chocolate blob enemies blow up the blocks 🙂

I found myself stuck after only a few levels, though..  I think I’ll come back to this after the main game!

While checking over the game’s website, I saw that Swing Swing Submarine have another game in the works: Seasons After Fall.  I actually noticed this game thanks to the early artwork, featuring a cute little fox sleeping under a tree..


Image by Djaoul..

Seasons After Fall will be more of a discovery-based puzzle game where you explore the countryside taking advantage of the changing seasons.  It looks as though this was meant to be out in 2011, but they now say it will be done when it’s done.. which at least means they’re concentrating on getting a properly working product together, rather than shipping something out full of bugs.. plus points to them!

Fortix 2 – Demo

I tried out the Fortix 2 demo a few days back, after it caught my eye on Steam.. all it takes is a colourful picture sometimes 😉

Fortix 2 is a reverse turret defense game by Nemesys Games, an indie developer from Hungary.  The aim of the game is to capture the castle while faced with dragons, cannons, and other monsters..

To capture land, you simply walk around it, bit by bit.. taking care not to be hit by monster or cannon ball while doing so.. being hit means losing a life!  You are safe while at the edge of the playfield, but once you have left the side you are vulnerable until you’ve made your way back, fencing off the bits of land as you can.

Claimed land is the same as the land at the edge of the playfield.. you are safe while you are on it, and can set off from anywhere along the edge to claim another piece of land.

The maps in Fortix 2 are lovely, colourful representations of the castle and surrounding area, with hills, trees, swamps and water.. all of which affect how fast you move!  So if you’re heading across a piece of swamp, you may find yourself slowed to the point you can’t escape enemies.  The trick here is to claim smaller pieces of land.. and aim to capture the stray cannons outside of the castle, as once captured, they will shoot at enemy cannons for you 🙂

I found the demo very easy to play.. and while I loved the idea, I thought it was maybe a little too easy as I flew through the entire thing rather too quickly.

Fortix 2 reminds me of Xonix.. a game I played so long ago I don’t really want to say.. suffice it to say the monitor I played on back then displayed only green and black!  Back then, my PC gaming consisted of text-based role playing adventures, Tetris, and a few others.  I’m glad things have moved on, but I wouldn’t have given up my green and black world for anything 😉

Chime

The boss had a nice game recommendation for me this week: Chime, which he referred to as a cross between Tetris and Lumines.. something I’ve not played, but which a friend described as “crack for the PSP”.

The game involves placing puzzle pieces on a grid to form quad shapes, but it’s set to music which actually changes a little as you fill up the grid.

There’s a rather cheesy achievement too: Fairy Godmother, earned for simply starting up the game.  Chime was developed by Zoë Mode for a charity called OneBigGame, which raises funds for childrens’ charities.. so I guess I have done something good by buying the game 😉

With the boss watching my first attempt, I didn’t bother to read the instructions and just jumped in.   It’s very easy to pick up, but on the first try I didn’t get a great score as it turns out to be a little more complicated than just slotting blocks in together..

Once you’ve made the required quad shape, you can add more blocks to the side to make it grow.. this also increases your multiplier.  Stray blocks disappear from the grid over time, though, and when they disappear they take away your multiplier!  It’s rather addictive, and there are scoreboards, so it could well get a little competitive too..

Tonight, with the internet finally up and running here, I’ve been able to get some more time in and have unlocked all six tracks, including the awesome final track: ‘Still Alive’! 🙂

It seems from the developers’ blog that this last track and grid were created for the move to PC.. and initially they were trying to make the grid represent something from Portal!  This made for too-difficult levels though, so it ended up as above.

On the subject of Portal.. I just saw the co-op trailer for Portal 2 this evening.. Ohhh yes <3