Impressions: Groovin’ Blocks (Mobile)

Often, when games are ported to mobile platforms from their big brother console counterparts, much is lost in translation. Fortunately, puzzle games do not often succumb to this loss of graphical finesse, gameplay time, or control polish. In the case of Groovin’ Blocks, I previously reviewed the Nintendo Wii iteration which was an entertaining take on Tetris and similar titles, but with a welcome techno twist. Now the puzzler’s hit the iPod Touch/iPhone, and it couldn’t be any more fabulous.

Groovin’ Blocks is a different take on the puzzle genre in that, like Lumines, it pulls music into the equation to better itself and to set itself apart from the rest of the pack. Groups of blocks will rain down on you in the play field. It’s your job to arrange them so that they will stack in groups of a singular color. If you’ve ever tried your luck in Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, this should be a breeze. Eliminate groups of similar-colored blocks and rack up points.

Most other puzzlers would stop there, but Groovin’ Blocks kicks things up a notch with its inclusion of excellent, thumping techno in the background. Matching colored blocks in time to the pumping and bumping electronica ensures that you are showered in score multipliers that serve to make your score the best it can be. True, learning to get in step with the music takes a little while to get accustomed to, but once you learn to hit the beat and make rhythmic matches, you’ll be on your way to a high score in no time.

The game looks and plays as well as its Wii counterpart, only it’s much more portable (naturally). There are some control discrepancies since you must use your fingers, and often the controls become obscured by the blocks raining down onto the grid. Still, they function great – they just become a bit hard to see, and some gamers might prefer the tangible control of the Wii remote instead.

Groovin’ Blocks for the iPhone/iPod Touch is a stylized puzzler with fantastic production values, suffering only from a few minor control issues that are much more polished in the Wii edition. Small nitpicks aside, this is still one of the better choices in the wide world of iPod apps when it comes to rhythmic puzzlers. It’s colorful, affordable, and sporting some hypnotic beats. Fans of Tetris or the Lumines series will find much to love here, and it’s hard to say no to that kind of combination.  If you’re looking for a new puzzle obsession, why not give this one a chance?

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