Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Tower Bloxx: New York

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            Successful mobile developer Digital Chocolate has turned their attention to Microsoft’s new handheld format of late, delivering two of their most popular titles to the Windows Phone 7 Xbox LIVE enabled catalogue. The somewhat familiar block-breaking antics of 3D Brick Breaker Revolution were preceded by a conversion of the popular Tower Bloxx: New York, a pleasant game that offers as much of a vote for relaxation as it does for intense moments of reaction challenges, dependant on which gameplay mode is entertaining you. A considerable feat for a title priced at £2.49.

            The gameplay essentially boils down to a challenge of your hand-eye coordination and visual detection skills. As an entire floor of a tower swings at the top of the screen the player must work out how the momentum will affect its drop, and touch the screen when the correctElectronic Theatre Image moment comes to land it on the floor below. However, as the tower builds, inaccurately placed floors will cause it to sway more-and-more, requiring the player to predict the momentum of both the floor being dropped and the tower currently in place, which is obviously increasingly difficult with each subsequent poorly placed floor.

            The difference in gameplay agendas comes from each of the gameplay modes. The Quick Game mode is a tense survival challenge in which the player must build a seemingly never-ending tower with only a set number of lives. As the player builds higher they will pass checkpoints for quick restarts and earn extra lives or other power-ups. Power-ups can generally boost the happiness of your tower (score) or offer combo multipliers and other such bonuses, and are also available in the Board Game mode. In Board Game mode the player is given a more relaxing agenda, tasked simply with scoring as high as they can across a district of towers. The player draws a card from the limited deck and performs a selected action from those available, be it building a tower or taking place in a special challenge. Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals are available after the player has drawn all their cards, each awarding a different bonus for subsequent districts.

            Challenge Mode offers the same special levels as the challenges in the single-player, divided into three categories and several stages increasing in difficulty. There’s also a Co-Op Multiplayer mode in which two players play on a single system simultaneously. Better in theory than it is in actuality, the player on the left drops the floors while the player on the right straightens the tower.

            The visual quality of Tower Bloxx: New York is bright and cheerful, reminiscent of Bullfrog’s Theme Park in the interesting details provided by its backdrops. As the player’s tower ascends skyward the backgrounds reveal more and more unique and inventive imagery, and the variety of the districts in Board Game mode is welcome. The soundtrack is not exactly remarkable, but than little else could be expected given it’s extremely casual target audience.

            Tower Bloxx: New York is an inventive title, presenting two very different gameplay agendas for a pocket money price. It may not be an essential purchase and certainly won’t attract long-time gamers to the Windows Phone 7 format in the same way that the likes of The Harvest and Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst have, but it’s nonetheless a welcome addition to the format’s Xbox LIVE line-up.

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