When a game has a word like 'Bloxx' in the title it's usually safe to assume you know what to expect. Most likely you'll get an uninspired replica of the most commonly imitated game in the world. Sure it might swap rows for columns and blocks for squares, but essentially you'll be playing a lazy Tetris clone, won't you?
Well, in the case of Tower Bloxx Deluxe, it's a really nice surprise to find that while you'll still be playing a game with a rudimentary link to the most popular puzzle video game of all time, this innovative twist on the classic block dropping title is one of the freshest takes on the genre in recent years.
Like the original, 2D version of Tower Bloxx, the reason for this is that Deluxe neatly combines action-orientated puzzling with a simple but fiendish strategy game. Explained most simply, dropping blocks builds tower blocks, which can then be placed carefully into a small model city that you have to fill with as many residents as possible.
Carefully choosing when and where to place particular buildings is paramount, as the layout of your city drastically affects the size of your population.
The tower building game itself is relatively basic. One by one, large cubes are lowered in slowly from a swaying crane. All you control is the moment the crane releases its load, meaning you must use well-timed jabs of the '5' key to construct a huge tower.
Precise building and sturdy structures house more occupants, who flow into your soaring apartment until it is finished. Alone, that makes for a straightforward and enjoyable mini-game, but when combined with the next step, it becomes a brilliant complement to the strategic elements.
Each skyscraper you build will be one of several colours, with different tints allowing for increasingly challenging construction projects. Once they are completed, you must place the colour coded concrete towers on a small grid of empty building lots. The colour of you tower also dictates where on the grid it can be placed as certain colours can only be positioned next to particular neighbours, meaning you have to plan ahead to maximise land space. Once a city is filled you can move onto another, more demanding map of empty spaces.
Quickly you find yourself jumping to and fro between construction and city planning with frenzied anticipation. Buildings can be replaced with superior projects, and as the population of your city increases new roof blocks become available. These crowning pieces only appear on the most well-crafted of towers, but attract plenty more residents, making erecting buildings with precision both intense and important
There is also a Time Attack mode that focuses purely on creating huge blocks of flats under the pressure of a ticking clock, bringing a soupçon of variation, but you'll need little reason to leave the main game. With a wealth of player achievements to overcome, a bank of statistics and a handful of unlockables, Tower Bloxx Deluxe does everything it can to make an ingeniously simple puzzler feel like a fully fledged release.
Drop in cheery 3D visuals and some wonderfully simple controls that require little more than unhurried directional movements with the numeric pad during the town planning sections, and Tower Bloxx Deluxe has an overall polish that gives you all that you want from a mobile puzzle game. It will be a little simple for some players, but if you fancy a sprinkling of strategy with your block dropping, pick this one up without hesitation.