Boom Blox for everyone? We always thought the original was a decent sort of pass-the-remote party game, but this time the line between solo and multiplayer modes is less clearly defined, and the whole thing becomes an experience that works equally well with one or four competitors. Other players can opt in before the round starts, and you can play by sharing a single remote – although it’s better if everyone has their own controller, particularly in modes where each turn only lasts a couple of seconds.
There are co-operative levels involving the same sort of objectives you get in the solo mode. In other games this would be ideal for a parent to help out a young child, but as Boom Blox is so ridiculously easy to play, we can’t imagine anyone having any trouble hitting the target and knocking down some bricks. They’ve even made the throwing controls a bit more generous, so you don’t have to wang the remote so violently to register a full-strength shot – a boon to those of us who wound up with aching shoulders after a session on the original game, and it might just save your LCD telly from a battering, too.
Competitive levels are more fun, and there’s an incredible variety of them. The tasks and toolsets you’re given are wildly inventive. In one game type you’ll be trying to paint blocks in your own colour while avoiding knocking down anyone else’s; in another you’ll be firing cannons at your rivals’ bases.
There are zero-gravity levels where the trick is to launch a slow bomb and detonate it at the optimum point in space to send blocks flying off into the void. Underwater levels see you toppling towers of gems and frantically trying to throw them all up to the surface before they touch the sea bed.
As well as all the new stuff, the best of the original game returns in expanded form, including the excellent Jenga-style challenges and the ones where you try to uncover a weak spot which, when hit with a ball, makes the whole structure explode satisfyingly in a shower of bricks.
Less successful are the shooting challenges, where you just control a cursor and try to zap coloured blocks out of the sky as they fly towards you. We’re not too sure about the paint puzzles, either, which seem to be about thoughtfully planning how to colour the blocks so they match up and collapse in a chain reaction but can often be solved by lobbing a cheaty paintball at the join between several blocks. Maybe we just missed the point of that mode.