Quirky puzzle games seem to go hand in hand with Nintendo systems, especially handheld ones. In the systems short life we already have Puyo Puyo Tetris on the Switch, Magical Drop 2, as well as this new release from Intense.
As the title suggests, Puzzle Adventure Blockle has a full fat story mode in a very cute world of humorously spherical cats. You are the hero Kulu who has been ordered by the mayor of your village to gather the seven world stones, which he needs for world domination. With only slight questioning, you and a human Goddess Arika (just roll with it) travel together to appease the mayor. Obviously a story is not the main reason why you would play a puzzle game, but I think it’s surprisingly well done. There’s lots of dialog between puzzle stages with plenty of cute characters and dare I say, sometimes quite charmingly funny. Even though at times I just wanted to get on with the gameplay, I didn’t mind the cut scenes too much since they weren’t badly done.
Enough about the story though, you’re really here for the puzzling gameplay and the best puzzle games are the simple ones. Blockle excels in that department. In order for Kulu to acquire the seven world stones for the mayor he needs to traverse the land using Arika’s special power of rotation, allowing Kulu to reach doors which is the end goal of a stage. In each stage you are in an enclosed space. You can walk Kulu left or right and even climb onto group one block higher than himself but there is no jumping at all. So, in order to reach your goal you need to rotate the stage either direction with the shoulder buttons, respectively. This often opens up avenues for you to reach different places, fall down, move parts of the environment. It’s such a basic mechanic but it works very well.
It starts off very simply with just you, Kulu, and the door way but it introduces new elements incrementally until the later levels can be more complicated, but the gist of the gameplay stays the same throughout; rotate the levels, get to the exit. It’s not long until you get to levels that involve warp points, hazards and moveable platforms. I actually quite enjoy what this game has to offer because it’s always introducing newer elements without over complicating it.
Completing each level is generally easy enough but the real challenging element of Puzzle Adventure Blockle is achieving three special requirements, or missions, for them. These can include things like completing it within a certain time, completing it within a set amount of moves or rotations. Trying to complete these will require a lot of preplanning, testing and figuring out. I’ll freely admit I was completely stumped on plenty of them, and those that I did manage to solve, felt incredibly satisfying after so long working them out.
I think visually it’s actually quite appealing, 3D models on a 2D plane usually turns out well and Blockle is just so fun and colourful, bright and adorable. The presentation is a little on the basic side and I think Arika’s human character design is a little out of sync with the rest of the game, but overall I think it’s quite good. More work could have gone into the music though which can get repetitive
This may be a short review, but there’s not actually that much to explain or say about it. Puzzle Adventure Blockle is a surprisingly good puzzle game. That’s a word that defines Blockle very well. Surprising. It’s better than you would believe from a quick glance or the price point. It’s not great or anything, just surprisingly better than you think. Just looking at it may make you dismiss it for its cartoony visuals and cheap-ish presentation, but you shouldn’t be so hasty as the puzzles and charm will keep you hooked through out. If you’re looking for a cheap cheerful puzzle game then Puzzle Adventure Blockle has a recommendation from me.
Game provided on behalf of Intense