Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: Bloom Box for iPhone and iPad

Bloom Box took me by surprise. Seeing that it was advertised on the home page of Touch Arcade, I expected it to be entirely targeted at casual gamers, but its mechanics are actually quite good.

What intrigued me was the last sentence of the app description: "In collaboration with Pyrosphere".
Pyrosphere is the developer of the excellent Lazors, so that was certainly a good start.
Indeed, after some research, it turns out that this release by Nexx Studio is a remake, with better graphics, of a game with the same title that Pyrosphere released in 2011. The original game is no longer available on the App Store.
The playing area is an 8x8 grid representing a garden. In the garden there are a few boxes, most of which can be moved around. One of the boxes cannot be moved and is connected by a white line to a button at the bottom of the screen. When you tap the button, a drop will be shot toward the box, and the box will explode, shooting more drops on nearby tiles. If those drops hit other boxes, they'll explode too, causing a chain reaction.
To solve a puzzle you just need to hit all the boxes, but to solve it properly you also need to hit three stars. There can be multiple ways to do it.
Note also that there are holes in the garden. You can't put a box over those tiles.
The labels on the boxes indicate which tiles they hit when they explode. Initially you play with blue and red boxes, which shoot orthogonally and diagonally.
Later, green boxes appear, which shoot orthogonally but 2 tiles away. Helpfully, when you drag a box the tiles targeted by it are highlighted.
Further into the game, you find purple boxes, which shoot like the Knight moves in chess.
I haven't solved all puzzles yet so there might be even more box types to see.

The puzzles are well designed and even with a small number of boxes, the solution can be counterintuitive and elusive. Logic helps a lot in weeding out impossible arrangements and isolate the solution.

There are currently 120 puzzles, split across three "gardens" plus a "Star Garden". The levels in the three gardens are unlocked in sequence, and the ones in the Star Garden are unlocked one by one when you earn enough stars. The Star Garden puzzles are apparently supposed to be slightly harder than the others.

The puzzles in this game aren't very difficult, but they aren't trivial either, and I found them to be very fun. It's definitely worth a try; there is also a free version available.

Summary

Nontrivialness★★★☆☆
Logical Reasoning★★★★☆
User Interface★★★☆☆
Presentation★★★☆☆
Loading Time★★★★★
Saves Partial Progress
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©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and nontrivialgames.blogspot.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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