Gravity makes everything better. Take gravity away from Tetris and all you have is various shapes floating in the air. Take it away from Angry Birds and you may as well say goodbye to the slingshot as your weapon of choice (unless the pigs relocate to the moon, that is).
Bloktonik isn’t satisfied with just one gravity field for its match-four gameplay, though - that’s been done before. No, what you, the gamer, really want is four sides around a central block to each be affected by their own gravitational fields. Four times the fun, right?
Not exactly. While that’s quite a neat idea on paper, and opens up a fair few new scoring avenues in a tired genre, it turns out that it isn’t quite as fun as you might think.
You’re given a central ‘anchor’ block in the middle, while the four sides of the play area spit out coloured gems, one at a time, moving clockwise from the top.
Whichever entrance the block ‘falls’ out of determines where the gravity is directed, so if a block arrives out of the left-hand side it will ‘fall’ to the right.
Should any blocks completely miss the play area (easily done when first starting the game) an evil skull block is automatically popped out of the currently active entrance, which can only be removed by using a special rainbow gem that appears at the end of each level.
Things get a little harder as you progress, with new colours of gems appearing every few levels in order to trip you up, and the play area will eventually be covered in mis-matched colours, blocking all the entrances and consequently ending the game.
While it sounds good on paper, Bloktonik ends up being a bit dull for a few simple reasons.
The first is that by having four potential outlets for your blocks (and, by extension, four different directions that count as ‘down’) the opportunities for forward-planning are significantly reduced - you have to just take what you’re given.
It’s telling that the two harder difficulty levels (which start with more colours in play) redefine failure as blocking off just one of the entrances instead of all four - on the normal difficulty the game becomes easier the more blocked off you are.
Back to block
Coasting around making simple matches is the order of the day, and you're hindered in this pursuit by the age-old match-x tradition of chucking extra coloured gems into the mix.
In fact, the game goes through so many colours in an attempt to inject some difficulty into the game that by level 20 it starts to run out of easy-to-identify shades, and begins throwing weird anime drawings down as well.
Presentation-wise, Bloktonik is serviceable, but nothing to shout about.
There’s a satisfying clunking noise when a block hits another, and some repetitive ambient electronica to switch off, but otherwise its sparse and characterless design just ends up adding to the malaise.
With games that can take up to half an hour before there’s even the slightest hint of losing, Bloktonik is too drawn-out to recommend, despite the quite interesting premise behind it.