Boom Blox Bash Party Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Third party Wii games have often been criticised for not making the most of the console's unique controls. One game this criticism can't be levelled at however is Boom Blox. The game was a block-based and physics-based puzzle game that was good as a single-player game but a whole load of fun as a multiplayer experience. The game essentially required you to throw projectiles, and some explosives, at various configurations of blocks. There were quite a few game-play variations on offer including a Jenga-like mode which required you to steadily remove blocks from a tower without making it collapse (you can read our full review of Boom Blox here). Suffice to say the formula was a hit (or should that be blockbuster) and it's certainly great to have another game in the shape of Boom Blox Bash Party.
Boom Blox did a lot of things right and thus you wouldn't expect Boom Blox Bash Party to make any drastic changes to what is a winning formula. In terms of content, the game is richer. There are over 400 new levels to tackle. There are three different modes of play in Bash Party: Solo, Versus and Co-op. The Solo mode gives you seven quick tutorial puzzles before you can gain access to the main park which contains a variety of themed puzzles including Pirate, Space (and it's a lot of fun having zero gravity to contend with) and Show Time. You'll have to deal with Virus Blox which infect any other blox they touch setting off chain reactions. There are even Virus Balls which can be thrown at blox to spread the infection. Change Blox will constantly change until you hit them so it's in your interest to hit them at the right time for them to have the desired value or to cause the desired effect. There are now weapons to use too. Some puzzles allow you to use a cannon and others allow you to use a slingshot mechanic whereby you grab a block, pull it back and fire it at your desired target. You don't have to confine yourself to just hitting or firing the blox. The various characters you'll see wandering around in the puzzles can now be fired at the blox.
Bash Party is generally a more rewarding experience than the original Boom Blox. Each puzzle will require you to achieve one of three targets in order to complete it. You can achieve a bronze, silver or gold medal depending on how well you do in a puzzle. The better you do, the more Boom Bux (the game's currency), you earn. Boom Bux can be used to purchase characters and accessories in the game's Create mode and they can even be used to purchase levels you haven't unlocked. The game also has a variety of awards and achievements for you to obtain. In addition you'll also earn items that can then be used in the Create mode where you can create your own levels.
As a single-player game Bash Party is an enjoyable experience but it's as a multiplayer experience that it really shines. Four players can take part in Versus and Co-op games. There is no support for online multiplayer but I don't think that's much of a problem unless you don't have any family or friends who you can play with (and this is about as accessible as a game can be to someone who usually doesn't play games).
There may not be the option to play against opponents online but that's not to say the game doesn't have online features. The game's Create mode allows you to either create a level from scratch or to create one from a blueprint. Levels are uploaded to an EA server enabling everyone to play each others' creations without having to be on a friends list. You can even download specific themed levels from any of the themed worlds in the game which is excellent.
In terms of content, modes and multiplayer options Bash Party is a better experience than the original Boom Blox. In regards to the game's presentation however, not a lot has changed. The look of the original game has been retained with most things in the game looking like some form of blocks, prisms or cylinders. Even the various characters in the game have a rather blockish appearance. Whilst the game doesn't look technically impressive however, it does have a certain charm that's rather appealing which more than makes up for fact that the game has rather simplistic visuals.
Deaf gamers will also find that the game is just as deaf gamer friendly as Boom Blox. The tutorial information is text only. The same is true for each of the puzzle objectives. In fact there is no speech in the game only some cheers and other such noises, so there are no problems here. You're notified in text when achievements have been earned and you're also notified visually when any other rewards have been earned so you're always aware of what you've achieved. The amount of shots/throws you have left is displayed and when a time limit is imposed on a puzzle, it's always shown so you'll always know how long you have remaining.
Boom Blox Bash Party is a great sequel and manages to surpass Boom Blox in just about every respect. It's a more enjoyable single-player experience and even more fun as a multiplayer game this time around. There's enough content here to occupy you and your family and friends for a few months. The ability to create your own levels and to download custom levels that others have created will ensure that this will be one of those multiplayer experiences that few will tire of. The controls feel more responsive this time around and the new puzzle variations help to make the game more enjoyable. In short, if you really enjoyed Boom Blox you'll find Boom Blox Bash Party to be an essential purchase. If you didn't play Boom Blox then you can simply go straight for this as it's a more impressive package on the whole.