Tower Bloxx Deluxe
Building on the success of the acclaimed mobile app Tower Bloxx, developer Digital Chocolate has brought its established game crashing onto Live Arcade with a few additional modes to sweeten the exorbitant price tag. The premise is simple. Hired by the mayor of a failing town, it’s your task to renovate the area by layering blocks that serve as housing for the land’s inhabitants. What follows is a rudimentary game that lacks the demand for complex thought found in other puzzlers. It’s much more about coordination and finding a rhythm, accounting for the swing of the crane arm and finding that sweet spot rewarding you with a significant score multiplier.
The game offers the usual list of modes featured in previous iterations. Build City stands in as the campaign mode where you develop towers of different height and colour on four separate boards. Certain types of towers can only be built if you’ve placed the others on the board with consideration; green towers can only be placed between red and blue for example. This adds a strategic element that helps to break up the hypnosis of the endless block stacking. It’s also a nice touch that you unlock upgrades as you progress, allowing you to increase the population and raise your high score respectively. Quick Game is essentially survival mode where you layer as many blocks as you can until you get bored or mess up. Time Attack has you working up a sweat against the clock, desperately stacking in a feverish attempt to reach the next time increase ring. These modes are contrasting in that the first is very easy going and the other offers up much more of a challenge, where keeping a cool head is paramount.
Tower Bloxx Deluxe also features a local split-screen multiplayer mode. Co-op is available where you and a friend try to build a tower as high as possible with one dropping blocks and the other straightening them up. Unfortunately this feels shoehorned in as there’s just no reason for the tower to be straightened in the first place. For a game such as this, any extra modes are welcome but co-op becomes obsolete when the superior Battle allows you and three friends to take each other on using a variety of offensive power-ups. In a questionable and possibly damaging move, Digital Chocolate has omitted any form of online component barring a friends list leaderboard. You can only play against a friend in the room, cutting the potential lifespan of the game considerably.
Having received a graphical overhaul, the game is bathed in bright colours and a sedate atmosphere all to an unobtrusive soundtrack. With such charm it can be tempting to refrain from being too critical, despite the flaws clear from a lengthy playthrough. You may find it engaging for a while as you try to top your own score but repetition sets in early due to a lack of variety in the constant swaying and stacking.
At 800 MS points Tower Bloxx Deluxe just doesn’t have the legs to come recommended, particularly now Live Arcade hosts such a wealth of content in the form of standalone games, map packs and add-ons. Should you look thoroughly there’s also a free online Flash version offering the same formula, albeit lacking the colourful bells and whistles presented here. Sweet and unoffending, the game is not without its selling points and proves enjoyable for an hour or so. Unfortunately tedium occurs sooner than it should as a lack of diversity and online play cut your attention short.
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