Tower Bloxx Deluxe
800 MSP ($10)
Xbox Live Arcade
Simplicity is one of the most underestimated tools in video games nowdays. With games such as Mega Man, Ikaruga and Contra, it's impossible to deny this claim. However, with Digital Chocolate's newest game, Tower Bloxx Deluxe, you can't get much simpler from this with only a singular button to play the game.
Tower Bloxx Deluxe was originally a free flash game you can find anywhere on the internet, however the actual gameplay mechanics are different enough (swaying, graphics, fluidity) to warrant a re-release of the single player.
To play this game, you're only required to tap A. Your job is to build the biggest tower possible out of building blocks you stack on top of each other. The crane sways with your next block hovering above your rapidly swaying tower (though the tower never falls no matter how crudely you build it) and it's up to you to tap A to drop the piece right on top of the tower. Dropping at the wrong time will cause your piece to topple, and depending on what game mode you're playing will spell a game over for you.
Needless to say, this game is made for the casual crowd, but to write it off as vanilla or boring is a mistake. I've personally spent constant hours trying to top the leaderboards and with certain emotions I thought would never reveal itself from such a simple task. As I was getting higher and higher, I could feel a lot of pressure, strangely a side-effect of video gaming I barely felt before. As if this game was some sort of mental strain training, I found through multiple occassions having to rely on my ability to concentrate with an extremely accurate set of rhythms in order to do well. I spent from what I thought was mere minutes to the entire day playing a game as simple as "the A button."
"You take the game too seriously," That is what you're probably saying, but I insist on the reader trying the trial (somewhat short, sadly) in order to understand the large dose of addiction packed in such a tiny game. To stack a block perfectly on top of another gives you an adrenaline boost similar to a FPS where you mow down a whole room of people who have their guns already trained on you. It's pretty freaking intense.
There are six different game modes, quick play which gives you three lives to make the biggest tower possible. Time Attack, which gives you a certain amount of time to build the highest tower. Build City, which is a campaign where you have to plan and plot out where you're going to build everything. The next three modes are multiplayer modes, which are VS Time Attack, Battle and Co-Op. VS Time Attack works similarly to the single player, Battle will randomly have drop items that can harm your or others towers and Co-Op will let you two people build and poke one tower to make it more stable.
Co-Op is by far my favorite mode-- it feels much more casual but it's definitely a fun, simple way to pass your time. However, I'm unable to play as much as I'd like to, as Multiplayer doesn't support Xbox Live play, which is a shame and quite a blunder with the longevity this game could have had.
Also, pricing may be a problem with this game. Priced at 800 MSP ($10) it's hard to justify such a simple game without live support for that price, other from the fact that I've spent a lot more time on this game than many other XBLA games.
However, with pricing and lack of Live put aside, I still love to play it and can see myself playing it casually for the weeks and even months to come. The game is solid and works exactly how it should, with the big bonus of crazed addiction in its veins. I absolutely have to recommend the trial if anything.