The Blocks Cometh (69p/99 cents) by Halfbot is an endless vertical platformer with a twist. In the words of chicken little, “the sky is falling!” – or at least, blocks are falling from the sky. You need to jump on top of them as they land, so that you don’t get squashed, pancake-style. As you ascend, they fall more quickly, forcing you to continue desperately jumping higher and higher – and if you get stuck between blocks, or just enjoy shooting things, you can destroy them using your gun. The aim of the game is to get as high as you can.
There are four game modes, one of which can be unlocked via in-app purchase. Classic mode plays as described above, and is quite challenging. Arcade mode is basically classic mode with three lives, and casual mode is essentially arcade mode but easier. There isn’t a great deal of variety between the game modes, with their difficulty being the main differentiating factor between them. The fourth mode, Gamebot mode, costs £0.69/99 cents via in-app purchase, and features Nintendo Gameboy style graphics.
iPhone platformers often suffer from imprecise controls, but there’s no such problem here. When played in portrait mode, the control buttons might be a little close together for people with less tiny hands than me. To solve this problem, the game lets you play using a landscape orientation too, avoiding any potential cramped-control related injuries. For those that hate on-screen buttons, the game can also be played using tilt controls, but these are too imprecise.
Graphically, the game looks awesome. It features clean, stylised graphics; they feel like Canabalt in colour. There is a nice feeling of activity to the game, too – in the background, stones crumble past and rockets launch themselves into the sky. Similarly, the audio just feels right. It’s full of retro sounds and an unobtrusive soundtrack that suits the game nicely.
The game gives you lots of incentive to play on. There are 9 characters to unlock, each with different qualities – some might move slowly but jump high, some might be fast but with weaker weaponry. I’m holding out for a chuck Norris character that destroys blocks with just his eyes and a pair of chopsticks. The game also features achievements and leaderboards, to ignite your competitive urges.
Overall, The Blocks Cometh is a well-executed platformer with style and longevity to boot. It’s not perfect, and could do with a little more variety. Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had for the low price of £0.69/99 cents, so it’s definitely worth a download.
Overall Rating: 8/10