It’s easy to say that most iPhone games are junk, rehashes or dumb two-second fun. That’s usually true, and when I was given a download code for this title, I instantly thought the same. I wasn’t told who the developer was, but I knew it wasn’t a biggy like EA, Ngmoco, Capcom or someone of that league. Then when I activated the code, I thought to myself “oh jeez, another Tetris clone for pay.”
Groovin’ Blocks, however, isn’t any of those things. I can’t say wholeheartedly that it won me over, but it’s a serious title for the iPhone, and after dabbling a little with the game, I realized that it’s not just another clone. It’s Tetris, Bejeweled and Tap Tap Revenge all bundled in the same game. Or, to be more specific, it’s like Bejeweled with moving pieces in a Tetris format, with bonuses playing to music like Tap Tap Revenge.
Gameplay seems simple, and indeed is, but for more serious players who want to get high scores and unlock all of the power ups, it can be incredibly challenging. Score points by getting three colored pieces in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row. All corresponding colored pieces touching will also be destroyed, increasing the bonus, as will any new rows created. Pieces fall down as they do in Tetris, but it’s always a row of three vertically stacked pieces or random color.
Players can control where the pieces land and in what order the colors are in. Matching rows is pretty easy, but every level has a song playing, and a beat that appears on both sides so you know when to drop a piece. Get correct timing and your score multiplies. Correctly timed pieces will be brighter and they’ll stick out more, while poorly timed drops will be duller and seem to sit in the background.
There are really two ways to play, with and without keeping to the beat. I can’t say the music is anything worth head-bobbing about, but chances are you’ll spend a lot more time on the game without the music than with it. The controls are simple enough to adjust to, odd as they may be (left and right ‘buttons’ to move the piece side to side, down button to drop, side buttons to change color position), so it’s really a matter of having the right timing.
That doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. Put it on hard and suddenly square pieces with up to four different colors drop down at a faster rate. Games don’t go on forever, but rather have a time and point limit to reach. Get enough points and you can earn bonuses and powerups that will appear for later use.
how we score
As weird of a game as it is, Groovin Blocks is pretty good. I found it isn’t the most portable game because if you want to do well, you need the sound, so no playing in class or at the office. That said, it’s a fun little game, and for $1.99 and a free lite version available, you really can’t say no. Give it a whirl, and put up some Washingtons for it.