Mad Blocker Alpha is not the first game from Limerick based Open Emotion Studios but it is their first venture into Sony’s Mini market and what a good start to make. In 2009 they released its predecessor Mad Blocker which garnered a lot of success. Mad Blocker Alpha The Return of The Fluzzles is the natural sequel to Mad Blocker.
The idea behind the game will be somewhat familiar to fans of Tetris, you have falling blocks that you must stack, but instead of stacking blocks of different shapes you stack coloured blocks. Each block is made up of three smaller blocks of varying colours. As the blocks fall you can alter the sequence of the colours until they hit the stack of blocks below. Matching four of the same colour causes those four to explode and the remaining blocks drop down into place and you continue until you either hit the set target for that level or you hit the top of the screen which ends the game.
Not happy with just having a simplistic stacking game the guys at Open Emotion have created a little story mode for you to take part in. The Fluzzles are small little fluffy creatures who love shape shifting, they live in their own little world called Machu Popyu. Some Evil Mokes are hell bent on polluting the environment in the race for profits, this pollution has causes the Fluzzles to be trapped the in their current block form. They must travel across the land summoning the Great Buhmba to restore natures balance and thus restoring themselves to their former shape.
The story takes you through 17 different levels over four different regions each with its own style and music. So rather than playing just an endless stacking contest that gradually gets faster, you are faced with a number of different scenarios to advance beyond each level. That may be a score limit you must achieve, freeing a certain number of a chosen coloured blocks or beating the clock.
This game even has Boss battles! To take on these tasks you have a number of tricks at your disposal in the form of power ups, this range from time bombs which blow up the blocks in straight lines, to drilling blocks that drill straight down through your stack. These are unlocked by getting a “chain” which entails breaking eight blocks in one single move.
The story mode offers something more than just your standard stacking game but don’t despair if that’s what you crave, also included are two other game types. The first named Endless Mode is quite self-explanatory. You simply keep playing for as long as you can keep away from the top of the screen. Trying to reach the highest level and get the top score.
The second game type is Tower mode, this is a little different as it flips the concept on its head and this time you have to stack the blocks up to reach the top of the screen to advance to the next level. Sounds easy right well it’s not. All the same rules still apply, blocks will explode if they line up, the power ups still come thick and fast and you are also threatened from below with a red line that you can’t fall below. As things get faster and more frantic your stack of blocks can get destroyed in a matter of seconds. Remember the computer can work out what to do faster than you!.
The game itself is quite easy to pick up gameplay wise but also quite challenging from the get go, but it is the look of the game that really sets it apart. The blocks are made up of a number of funny little hand drawn animated characters that have different expressions. The art styling in the game is very nice from the blocks themselves to the back ground to even the paintings within the story mode.
My favourite part of the game is the music it really captures the relaxing but addictive personality of the game. Each section has its own definitive sound and feel to it.
Overall the game is top notch, it is perfect for the Mini’s market the story mode gives Mad Blocker Alpha that extra edge it needs to set it apart from your conventional stacking games and the art style and music really round off an excellent game and one of the best game available in Sony’s Mini’s series.