Boom Blox Bash Party
- Nintendo Wii
- EA Los Angeles
That quirky Jenga-style videogame without all the messy cleanup and the curious Steven Spielberg association is back, but this time with a greater emphasis on the multiplayer—a limited but addictive aspect of the forearm-spraining original. Just as in Boom Blox, players use the Wii-mote to hurl projectiles at multicolored building-block-like towers, earning points when the stacks come crashing down. But now, there are an additional 400 levels, and you’re playing for the game’s currency, Boom Bux. Bux can be used to purchase new features in the robust level-creation mode, or if you and your friends are really lazy, to just buy levels you haven’t gotten good enough to unlock.
And while there have been no graphical updates or physics refinements, Bash Party has enough new wrinkles to warrant burning even more heated hours with the childish-looking game. The outer space and underwater levels’ different gravities require a little more thought in how you go about demolishing everything onscreen, and the new virus blox can sway an entire match, causing a level’s foundation to suddenly evaporate. Also good: The game now mercifully calls some matches short when it’s impossible for the loser to catch up in points.
But not all the additions are improvements. Some two-player co-op modes were seemingly never tested by the developers: Arming one player with a bomb and the other with a bowling ball just renders the latter impotent, waiting around for the level to be cleared. Same goes for the turn-based nautical levels that have you manning a cannon and trying to capsize your opponent’s boats and gem blox. It sounds fun in theory, until the less-effective player starts getting “revenge shots” as bonuses. How can you possibly lose when you suddenly have 11 turns and your adversary only has two? But these misfires ultimately speak for Bash Party’s biggest strength: its imaginative variety.
Beyond the game: You can blow through the entire thing in a weekend, but players and EA are uploading new levels every day.
Worth playing for: When you’re allowed to pluck a cutesy block animal from the ground and chuck it into the stratosphere, screaming.
Frustration sets in when: The game’s inconsistency gives you a big raspberry. Sometimes the same level can be won with a Hail Mary or with a series of precise throws.
Final judgment: More of the same, but in the best way possible.