Groovin' Blocks Review

When you review a lot of games, sometimes you're tempted to describe a game like Groovin' Blocks in terms of the other games it's like. In this case, the games emulated are Lumines, 0-D Beat Drop, and Columns. However, in the interest of fairness to those who haven't played those other games, and to the game in question itself, I'll resist that temptation and give Groovin' Blocks its own look.

Groovin' Blocks is a block-dropping game in which block clusters drop from the top of the screen and stack up at the bottom. Match three or more blocks of the same color either horizontally or vertically in that stack and the blocks are eliminated, causing any blocks stacked on them to drop to fill the gaps and potentially setting off new matches in a chain reaction. You have control over the block clusters as they drop in that you can move them horizontally as they fall and rotate the colored blocks within the cluster. Unlike Tetris, Groovin' Blocks drops its block clusters as three-block columns that can't be rotated into a horizontal row, and on the advanced settings it adds a second cluster type in the form of a four-block cube. The game continues until your stack reaches the top of the playing area or the current track ends, whichever comes first.

The "Groovin'" in Groovin' Blocks comes from the techo and electronica tracks played in the background as you play the game. The soundtrack isn't just there for atmosphere, though, it's an integral part of the game. As the track plays, the beat is displayed as a series of lines that converge on the playing area. The idea is to time the dropping of blocks so that they hit the stack when the beat lines hit the meters on the sides of the playing area. Doing so increases the score gained from any matches made and also builds a score multiplier. Miss the beat and you lose your multiplier. Occasionally power blocks fall that will unleash a special effect such as destroying the blocks around them regardless of color, but there are a couple of catches. First, the block must be dropped on a beat or the power-up is lost, and second, the block containing the power-up must be part of a match before the power-up is unleashed.

The original tracks in the game are enjoyable enough to listen to while playing, and some will appreciate the nods they take to gaming such as the not-so-subtlety-titled "I Love My C-64". There is a problem with them in that techno tracks sometimes drop the beat line during a synthesizer fill, and when this happens you're out of luck as far as maintaining your score multiplier or enabling power-up blocks. It's hard to drop a block on beat when there's no beat.

The game support multiplayer duels, but only locally, and leaderboard support is limited to giving you a message indicating your score's online rank at the conclusion of a game. This means that you'll pretty much have to enjoy the game as a solitary experience, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on your particular tastes. Overall I'd categorize the game as one of those puzzle games that's fun enough for the occasional diversion, but not one that will become an obsession for a while. Odds are that if you like these kinds of games, you'll have some fun with Groovin' Blocks, but if this isn't your thing it won't win you over.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 74%. Not a bad little variant on games that you've probably seen before.


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