Game Reviews

Pyramid Bloxx (iPhone)

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Pyramid Bloxx (iPhone)

Roman Gladiators lugged giant rocks around the Colosseum and Scots toss mighty cabers up in the air to ridiculous heights, but the Egyptians didn't build one of the world's seven wonders by running around chucking huge stones.

If they did I'd be mightily impressed because if Digital Chocolate's Pyramid Bloxx - which has already come out on mobile - is anything to go by, tossing and polishing stones is easier said than done. That's the order of the day here, throwing huge stones from the bottom of deep, dark pits in order to build enough pyramids to satisfy the gods.

It's fair to say Pyramid Bloxx, the spiritual successor to Tower Bloxx, is about as Egyptian as Tommy Cooper in a fez. In short, the Egyptian gods charge you with building a series of pyramids, rewarding you with Pharaoh status and offering you a kingdom to rule over.

Rather than focusing on the actual construction, the game is about getting the building blocks out of the mines. Taps of the screen chuck them from tier to tier, workers on each level catching them and then hoisting them up to the floor above.

It's a one touch game, your only input being to tap the screen or flick the phone when the worker in possession of the stone is lined up with the guy directly above.

Since success is determined by your ability to judge just when the two are in line, timing is key. Getting the stone to the top tier in one piece the main aim. Three drops result in the block smashing to pieces and game over.

Making each catch is harder than it sounds. If one of the workers is involved in a close call chances are he'll lose his balance, causing him to throw the rock up to the next level at a strange angle. One close call invariably leads to another, each near miss making the following throw less likely to reach its target.

It makes for tense, tight gameplay where simply managing to get your rock to the top isn't enough. Pyramid Bloxx calls for precision and that's the one advantage - besides some smarter, crisper visuals - that the iPhone version has over its mobile cousin, with instinctive taps ensuring you can never blame the game if your rock ends up smashed to smithereens.

Speed also plays its part. Stringing together a chain of successful passes all the way to the top results in more polish lavished upon your stone, giving it smoother sides.

This is surprisingly important since the numerous types of stones you can mine come with rules regarding where they can be placed in the main structure based on how many smooth stones they're in contact with. The ability to replace any block with a more polished one allows you to constantly upgrade your pyramids as you go.

Even this nuanced depth can't alter the fact that Pyramid Bloxx is a one tap master. For the most part, this is one of the reasons the game is so appealing, the simple controls ensuring there's no need for reams of explanation or a tutorial. Likewise, however, the fact things never really progress does put a limit on its appeal.

Pyramid Bloxx provides gameplay as solid and simple as the smooth and shiny stones it features. Its consistent gameplay, however, means it might not be long before you're moving onto the next, slightly less one-dimensional, wonder of the world.

Pyramid Bloxx (iPhone)

A question of timing, Pyramid Bloxx is a puzzler that can be picked up in seconds, but might not offer enough depth to keep just everybody piling up those pyramids