Superscape tests out a potentially winning formula: "Physics + puzzles = fun"
When I first started up Gum Blox and saw the 3-block pieces and the vertical playing field, I thought, "Oh no, not another Tetris clone." Luckily, Gum Blox has a little more going for it than just being a simple Tetris clone. There's no easy way of explaning this puzzle game to someone who hasn't played it, but here I go. Imagine Puyo Pop, the game where you have to match three blobs of the same color to get rid of them. Now cross that with those super bouncey balls you get from 25-cent machines at the supermarket. That's essentially what Gum Blox feels like.
3 unit blocks fall one at a time from the top screen. During the few seconds between when they fall and when the next ball falls, you can somewhat control the blocks. I say somewhat control because you can't really move them in the way you might be used to. Instead of directly moving them, you can bounce them around the screen, like chiclet shaped rubber balls. Once three of the same colored blocks touch for a few second, they get "soapy" which means they're about to be eliminated. You can still move the blocks around while they're soap, which means you can chain together lots of soapy blocks within that time for more points. The game is lost when the playing field is full and there is no more room for more blocks.
Gum Blox has 3 modes of play. Keep It Clear mode consists of stages where a certain number of blocks must be cleared before advancing to the next stage. There's a handy special move that can be used a limited number of times which jolts the whole playing field and bounces all the blocks around. That kept me from getting a game over a couple of times. Then there's Fill It Up mode, which is basically the opposite of Keep It Clear. The object of Fill it Up mode is to stack blocks up to the top of the playing field without losing too many blocks. Each stage has a specific number of blocks you can afford to lose and exceeding that amount leads to a game over. Finally, there's Time's A Wastin' mode, which is basically marathon mode where you try to keep going and clear blocks as long as possible to get the highest score.
My favorite mode would be Keep It Clear. Clearing stages feels satisfying like I've accomplished a goal. Fill it Up mode was too easy, but could be a good place to get familiar with the bouncing physics of the blocks. I was able to get up to level 7 in Fill it Up mode by just leaving the phone on and letting blocks drop on their own, which got a bit boring.
What I like about Gum Blox is that the premise is simple and needs almost no explanation. I also like that two of the gaming modes are direct opposites of each other which please people in both camps. However, something that makes the game frustrating is how similar the red and orange colored squares are. Switching either the orange or red to a blue color would save me a lot of squinting.
The simple gameplay of Gum Blox makes it an easy game to pick up and play. There's no deep thinking involved, and something about the brightly colored bouncing squares makes time pass faster. Gum Blox is a good diversion for anyone tired of the same old physics-lacking puzzle game.
What's Hot: Easy to pick up simple puzzler.
What's Not: Physics are a bit tricky to get use to. Not many game modes.