Boom Blox: Bash Party Review

By Greg Bemis - Posted Jun 24, 2009

It's no secret that we here at X-Play loved Boom Blox. It was a refreshing destructo-puzzler that actually made good use of the Wii Remote. Initially, upon hearing about Boom Blox Bash Party we were a bit concerned that EA wouldn't have enough new stuff to put in the game… or that Spielberg would suddenly want to turn all the bomb blox into walkie-talkies or something. Happily, our fears were unfounded.

The Pros
  • New modes of play
  • Better controls
  • Full-featured content sharing
The Cons
  • Renders the first Boom Blox obsolete

Boom Blox Bash PartyIt’s no secret that we here at X-Play loved Boom Blox.  It was a refreshing destructo-puzzler that actually made good use of the Wii Remote.  Initially, upon hearing about Boom Blox Bash Party we were a bit concerned that EA wouldn’t have enough new stuff to put in the game… or that Spielberg would suddenly want to turn all the bomb Blox into walkie-talkies or something.   Happily, our fears were unfounded.

You Blockhead!

Make no mistake:  Boom Blox definitely doesn’t stray too far from the formula found in the first game.  Players are presented with all manner of blocky structures. They are then given some task to fulfill using whatever tool they have at their disposal.  Sometime you need to knock out all the point gems, or remove colored blocks with surgical precision, or knock down a castle as fast as possible.

But Bash Party adds some new ideas to the mix.  In addition to grabbing and throwing objects, player can now slingshot them around the playfield.  Just pick the block you want to sling, pull back on the Wii Remote, and let ‘er fly.  There’s also a cannon that lets you rip apart buildings with pinpoint accuracy. New Blox can also be found in the game.  When triggered, the Virus Block infects nearby Blox before disappearing which, when used correctly can cause a devastating chain-reaction.  Special Blox can also change from one function to another, so you need to time your shots carefully in order to get the desired result.

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


Boom Blox Bash PartyNow that doesn’t sound like much of a change from the first game - a couple new Blox and a few new tools.  But where Bash Party comes into its own is in the superb level design.  EA added some excellent new gameplay conditions.  Things like color-changing paint, different levels of gravity (including zero-G), and new kind of win-states has given the level designers a whole new palette to work with. 

The variety of different games is remarkable.  Some levels play like Match Three puzzle games, but with physics playing an important role.  Other levels resemble shuffleboard or mini-golf.  Still others have you carefully negotiating treacherous underwater terrain in search of treasure.  The different games are spread around several themed areas, so it’s easy to find and focus on the games you like to play.  With hundreds of different levels, you won’t run out of stuff to do for a good long while.

If it is broke, fix it.


EA also appears to have listened very carefully to criticisms of the first game.   Remember those lame shooting gallery levels? They have now been severely pared down in favor of more inventive ideas.  Better yet, if you’re stuck on a level, you can buy your way on to the next with money earned through playing the game.  Cash is plentiful – there are even special cash Blox on each level that you can collect for extra bucks – so you should never get stuck in the game.  The physics and controls have been tweaked as well.  The Blox behave a little more realistically which make the Jenga-style levels play a lot more smoothly.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd, Four’s a Bash Party

Boom Blox Bash PartyCo-op and versus play return as well and these modes are again split into different themes so that you can quickly get to the modes you want to play.  Much of the Co-op naturally shares similarities with the single-player modes.  Either you’re taking turns to complete the task or working on it at the same time.  The latter method can be tough, especially when you have an over-enthusiastic buddy who constantly tosses balls while you’re trying to line the camera up.  Still, it’s all in good fun.

Versus mode contains tons more content that in the first game.  You still have those great castle battles and jenga puzzles.   But our new favorite had got to be the shuffleboard style games.  These ones use the slingshot controls and puck-shaped blocks that scoot along the surface of the playfield.  Depending on the level, you’ll be aiming for point zones, or each other in an attempt to knock the other player off the board.  It’s all very devious.  And then one of use realized you could gently sling the animal spectators onto the board to block your opponent’s shot.  It’s moments like this where you realized that this is just an awesome, awesome game.

Always remember to Share

And then it gets better.  As neat as create mode was in the first game, sharing levels via the incredibly lame Wii Friend Code system took much of the fun and utility out of that feature.  In Bash Party you can upload your levels to the EA server and share them with everyone else.  It’s not quite as robust as LittleBigPlanet, but it’s remarkably easy to search for and load up levels you find interesting.  Although the game just came out there are already some player-made levels appearing which compliment the EA generated levels that were already on the server.  It looks like there won’t be any shortage of content for Bash Party any time soon.
   
See Ya Shakin’ That Boom Boom

Boom Blox Bash PartyWhile it’s not a radical departure from the first game, it really doesn’t have to be.  Bash Party fixes some of the issues with Boom Blox, adds a ton of fresh content, and then goes the extra mile of creating a viable online community.  What’s not to love?  Get bashing!