I often joke about how the Kieffer Bros. must add some sort of magical ingredient to their games to make them play so wonderfully. While that actually may be true, I believe that their games are much more a product of hard work and talent, and it’s because of their history of making positively delightful games that I decided to give Blockwick a try, even though I don’t usually play puzzle titles like it.
I wrote very briefly about the game at its release, but it boils down to rearranging blocks on a grid so that the glowing blocks of the same color are all sitting beside each other. That means that the blue blocks should be beside other blues, and the reds alongside the reds. Once you’ve succeeded in this, a button to move onto the next stage will magically appear.
Later levels tend to spice things up by adding different shapes, as well as different kinds of blocks — some of which actually require being woken up before they can be moved. Naturally, as this is a Kieffer Bros. title, all of this puzzling is strangely atmospheric, with a catchy little soundtrack and a subtle glow that quickly fades away after you manipulate each block.
I tend to find these kinds of puzzle games rather claustrophobic because moving blocks around one by one in a confined space often makes me feel trapped. Blockwick tends to sidestep a lot of the claustrophobia by allowing for multiple solutions. Every once in a while you’ll encounter a glowing block that simply cannot be moved, but more often than not you’re free to herd blocks around the screen as you will. I’m still not a fan of the tight spaces, but that seems like a good compromise to me.
The only real disappointment here is the lack of iCloud sync for games across the iPhone and iPad. It would be lovely to come home and continue your iPhone Blockwick puzzle right on your iPad, but as of this current release, that isn’t possible.
There’s more to say about Blockwick, but there’s really no better selling point than its current price. The first 60 puzzles come free with the download, and you can opt to purchase additional level packs for $0.99 a pop. I’m a little nervous about this pricing scheme belying the quality of the gameplay, but it easily makes Blockwick one of the more affordable puzzlers out there, which is a good thing for gamers out there who are already inclined to try it.