Bloxiq Review – Rubik’s Cube on Steroids (Vita)
It’s been a long time since I last picked up the Rubik’s cube. Although the 3D combination puzzle dates back to 1974, it never gets old and continues to sell in various forms even today. When I fired up Bloxiq on my PlayStation Vita, I wasn’t expecting to be reminded of it, but I think the best way to describe the game is to call it a digital Rubik’s cube on steroids that draws some inspiration from match-three games.
In developer Blot Interactive’s own words, the idea was to create something that was easy to learn, but difficult to master à la Intelligent Cube, Devil Dice, or Echochrome. Considering the influx of mediocre, boredom-inducing puzzle games lately, Bloxiq was quite refreshing to play despite its few shortcomings.
Think, and You Shall Succeed
Bloxiq is very easy to pick up and play. The first few levels are designed to get players acquainted with the game and its controls, and as we progress, players are introduced to new challenges that see them figuring their way around locked cubes, bombs, multi-cubes, and more. Each of these present a new challenge on every level, and players have to manipulate the cube to get to the proper solution and match colors. Critical thinking is encouraged because a single wrong move results in having to play the respective level all over again. Imagine the frustration I felt when I almost had an entire level figured out until I made one silly mistake and got kicked back to the start!
Fortunately, this is a good kind of frustration. Bloxiq punishes players for wrong moves, but had it been forgiving, it would have taken away the challenge that makes the game as refreshing as it is. The unfortunate thing, however, is that it wasn’t always a silly mistake that kicked me back to the start of a level. At times, it was due to limited visibility of the cube from certain angles, and having to fiddle with the touchscreen controls.
Bloxiq requires holding of the L or R button while simultaneously using the Vita’s touchscreen to move rows and columns. Releasing the L or R button confirms the move. I found the combination of controls a tad fiddly. And on levels with multi-cubes, I found it difficult to view the cube as clearly as I wished to when matching colors. The resultant wrong moves were kind of aggravating, but during later levels, quite devastating.
Bang for the Buck
A lot of puzzle games on the Vita are incredibly short, but this is an area where Blot Interactive doesn’t disappoint. For $9.99, players have access to a hundred levels spread across seven different worlds, and this certainly isn’t a game that you can finish in one sitting. It becomes pretty challenging quite early on, but in order to not discourage our readers, I’d like to mention that Bloxiq is truly rewarding if players are just a little bit patient with it. Do watch out for the timed levels and limited moves, though! With all that said, Bloxiq does get a little bit repetitive. And quite frankly, I was expecting that. I appreciate its length, but when level after level requires players to essentially do the same thing, albeit with a little bit of modification, it can get tiresome.
Another minor flaw that I noted in Bloxiq is that it isn’t always obvious what it wants players to do. For instance, it wasn’t until I was beyond 30 levels in the game that I fully understood how to create “chains,” which are matches created by cubes “falling into the inner layer due to gravity,” or by “multi-cubes revealing inner cubes.” Although I understood what the description meant as I played the game, it did take a lot of trial and error to execute the moves correctly, and this can be off-putting for some. My difficulty in understanding chains could be a consequence of the aforementioned visual limitation, but up to a certain point, I had passed all the levels requiring their creation by experimenting with the cube until I got through.
Simple is Beautiful
Don’t pick up Bloxiq expecting it to contain any quirky art style, a story, or a melodic soundtrack, and you won’t be disappointed on that front. The game’s presentation is simple, and it’s probably for the best. I found the addition of in-game tips that appeared at the bottom of the screen particularly helpful. Some of the solutions were really simple, and the tips often reminded me of a trick that I was missing, but without actually revealing anything.
Overall, Bloxiq is a game that offers value through unique puzzles. Although the repetition can be an issue, it doesn’t change the fact that Blot Interactive has come up with some mind-bending challenges that are a welcome break from mundane puzzles flooding the market. In fact, Bloxiq has inspired me to purchase a Rubik’s cube again just to see if I can still solve it!
I would have appreciated the game’s presentation a lot more if it made room for a clearer view of the cube when matching colors on the outer cube with those on the inner cube. But that didn’t deter me from enjoying the game. Bloxiq is easily one of my favorite puzzlers on the Vita at the moment.
Note: Bloxiq is currently only available in the US. There’s no word of a release outside of the region yet.
A review code for Bloxiq was provided by Sony. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.