Good and bad games are the building blocks for any platform. The bad serve as the foundation, the detritus of play that enable those remarkable experiences to stand as proud examples of quality. Great titles learn from the mistakes of poor concepts and transform bricks into blocks of success.
BloXoR is one of those very titles that takes lessons from other iPhone games to make good use of tilt controls in a challenging breed of puzzler. It's simple to play, yet incredibly testing. A challenge that only rises as you accommodate to its method of play. Just how it should be, really.
Everything revolves around tipping your phone to unite three blocks (or 'blox', as they are referred here) – 'O', 'X' and 'O' – together, in that order. Tilting the device causes the blocks to slide around the map like a marble. While there's not a gravy cube in sight, there are a number of stumbling blocks that get in your way and, gradually, make each level a little trickier than the last.
But, fear not – BloXoR doesn't drop you in at the deep end. Each facet of play is introduced one-by-one; which is to say, you never feel like you're out of your depth, but you're never bored either.
While the design of the maps itself can prove a test in its own right, it's the other blocks that provide the stiffest challenges. Variety is the spice of BloXoR's life, and while there are some blocks that simply do nothing more than get in the way, others almost act as weapons. Bridge blox allow you to cover up holes littering a stage with a clever tilt. Blowing through a wall is easy with a bomb blox, although they can also be dangerous if not used properly.
Ordinary blocks can be rid of by letting them fall into holes scattered throughout each stage, although these can prove a major hazard. Should any of the blocks you need slip down one of these holes, then a restart is required.
Thankfully, restarting each level is a simple matter of swiping the screen to bring up a menu that lets you have another crack. Make no mistake, it's impossible to get through the game without scores of restarts on certain levels. BloXoR is a very delicate ecosystem, where one mistake can result in the chain needed for progress breaking down.
With 72 pre-designed stages on offer, this is a game you'll come back to for little bursts, wading your way through each map when you have time. A scoring system based on the number of tilts you used and the amount of time it took you also encourages replaying certain maps just to get a few extra points for the game's running total.
Any game that can keep you coming back and back again is worth its weight in gold. BloXoR achieves this by delivering an absorbing, addictive and – beyond all that – quality package that, for £1.79/$2.99, is an unequivocal bargain. Many of its complicated rivals could learn a lot from this game's simplicity; BloXoR's accessibility, like its bomb bloxs, will break down many a wall.