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Genre: Quiz/Puzzle/Strategy :: Players: 1 :: Released: 27/7/06

Big Box of Blox (Windows Mobile) Review

Developer: Astraware


Game Features


Lots of game modes and customisation
You gotta love the sound of breaking glass


No block preview
No multiplayer option

Bus/Tube Friendly
See Compatible Handsets












Review Details
Handset Pocket PC T-Mobile MDA Vario

Costas Stephanides’s Review

Review Date: 28/7/06

I love the sound of breaking glass in the morning.

I think we can all agree that Windows Mobile handsets are very powerful especially when compared to a little old Razr but does that mean the games are going to be exponentially better? Our first review is from Astraware and after a quick look at their catalogue, you'll see that these guys have quite a pedigree and our worthy to be our first dip into the heady world of WM5.

I'm sure by now that the whole world has played Luxor on the PC and on the mobile and they've probably even have dreams where they are playing it. Ok, slight exaggeration but we didn't want our first WM5 review to be another port from a successful PC game. That's why we have gone for Big Box of Blox. It's a fresh game that allows the developers a blank tapestry to weave for your gaming pleasure.

I'll be honest and admit that on first impression I was not that overly impressed. The graphics are good but not exactly mind blowing and the gameplay is initially not that dissimilar from the J2ME game GemJam Fever. Blocks fall down in vertical sets of 3 and the first thing I tried doing was to rotate the set. Surely my 400 MHz processor can handle that but unfortunately it was not to be. Being a typical man, I didn't bother with reading rules and I set about trying to play the game. It doesn't take a genius to realise that you have to arrange like coloured blocks to make them disappear (God knows I've played enough of these games to figure that out). I was confident that my 400 MHz powerhouse would be able to recognise 3 red blocks running in a diagonal line and awaited the impending boom. But no, blocks were only destroyed if they were in horizontal or vertical lines. However, as I saw the smoke billowing out from my battery pack I realised that any identical blocks that were touching the initial set of 3 vertical/horizontal blocks were also destroyed. I was slowly beginning to appreciate the subtleties of the game. If the blocks fall luckily for you, you can build a huge network of bricks having only 2 identical pieces in a row. When the time is right, make a row of three and watch it all go boom. In the end, even the gameplay is enough to set it apart from a J2ME game.

The graphics are pretty decent although I was expecting a bit more. On the plus side you do have plenty of customising options from the background images to the actual block types. The customising is carried through to the background music and stylus control. The sound effects are great and I would strongly advise wearing headphones or finding a quiet place to play this game. When the blocks are destroyed, you are treated to the sound of breaking glass. It is not just a single sound file; the sound seems to vary according to the number of matched blocks. It's by far the best thing I have heard on the mobile and is great to quell any vandalism tendencies you may have.

If you are going to be paying ???10 for this then you are entitled to expect a fair bit for your money. Along with all the customising and glass breaking that you could want, they have also given you 6 different game modes. All work on the same basic principle but each have their own characteristics. One has ? blocks which can be matched to either help or hinder your progress. When the ?s are matched, a slot machine spins round and blocks are either destroyed or turned to stone depending on the outcome of a slot machine. Other versions have bombs and squidgy worms to squash. Lots of variation and if you get bored of one type there should be another to tease you in and each has their own high score. The different game modes do offer differing amounts of game time and some are over in minutes while others can last for a lot longer. For the really fussy amongst you, you can even create your own custom game. There's a full range of options which allow you to mix and match the special features from the various games to create your persoanl game mode. The only real problem with the game as a whole is the lack of a preview screen for your upcoming blocks. It's an unfortunate oversight that makes it very hard to rescue a game when the blocks are near the top of the screen. You do have to rely on a little luck to get a run and clear a few blocks off the screen.

The game is developed for all Windows Mobile devices from the older Smartphones to the latest touch screen Pocket PCs. Controlling the game is very easy just by using the D-pad. Unfortunately not much has been made of the touch screen functions for the higher handsets - looks like porting is still a problem even for the 'universal' Windows Mobile format.

It is about twice the price of a standard mobile java game but definitely at least twice the experience.