Blocks Up: Think you know Tetris? Think Again.

Remember Tetris?  There have been numerous versions of Tetris since 1984 when Alexey Pajitnov (Soviet Academy of Sciences) created the first version.  IBM, Microsoft, Sega and Atari all had versions.  But none of those versions play like Blocks Up.  Who would have guessed that after 27 years there would be a few new twists on the classic Tetris.

Blocks Up is an addicting game which is easy to start but hard to complete.  In fact, after hours of playing we have been unable to unlock all of the levels.   Can you complete it?  If so, we would love to hear about it.

Blocks Up throws 2 interesting curve balls.  First, the blocks are going up instead of the normal Tetris concept of falling blocks.  (Get it?  Blocks UP!).  The second curve ball is even more entertaining (and cruel): the blocks have to be maneuvered around obstacles before coming to rest.  That makes the game much more challenging.  Some blocks only fit through smaller holes in solid walls.  Some levels force the user to send the blocks to one side and through the obstacles.   That  makes populating blocks on the opposite side even more challenging because it significantly cuts down the time to get the block lined up.

The controls for the game are responsive and simple to use.  Our only complaint was the control to speed up the block placement. In the earlier levels, the slow speed of the blocks requires a way to speed up the block placement.    The way to do that is with an upwards motion.   We found that sometimes we would end up speeding up 2 blocks (the intended one and the next one) or the block horizontally and out of place when it comes to rest. Maybe we just didn’t have the hang of it.  As it turns out, we didn’t need to.   The levels quickly sped up and we immediately lost the need for this gesture.  In fact, we have a suggestion for the next version.  It would be interesting to create a way for the user to select a speed in addition to the level.  We would like to play the easier levels faster and the harder levels slower.

One minor nit is the menu flow of the game.  When you lose a game…and you will…the ‘game over’ screen appears.   That’s OK.   The problem is that the the next screen is back to the menu screen.  We think the next screen should allow you to select the level.   We know it’s just one click away..we said it was a minor nit.

The gameplay music is a soothing piano compilation.  We give that a thumbs up.

Overall, Blocks Up is an addictive and entertaining game.  It’s easy to play so you don’t have to concentrate on strategy or get very involved in a long-term game.  It’s a fun game and a nice addition to your set of games for your iPhone.

Blocks Up - AppTouch

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