In July of 2007, EA announced that it would be collaborating with Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg to create video games. The famed director said, "I really wanted to create a video game that I could play with my kids." The first game to be born from this partnership, Boom Blox, succeeds in that endeavor. The single-player mode can get tedious and a few of the play styles would have been best left on the cutting-room floor, but Boom Blox is an enjoyable puzzler whose flaws are least apparent when played with friends or family.
Boom Blox has some similarities to Jenga, but there's more to it.
It's hard to avoid comparisons to Jenga when describing Boom Blox, which is unfortunate given how horrible Jenga World Tour was for the Wii. Rest assured that while the two may share a similar concept, Boom Blox is much, much better. Most of the game's 300-plus puzzles involve plucking blocks from perilously high block towers in hopes that when you do, they don't fall over, but there's much more to it. For starters, you'll use multiple methods to extract the blocks. Sometimes you'll be able to grab the blocks and cast them aside with a virtual hand. On some levels, you can aim at a block and then make a throwing motion with the Wii Remote to try to knock it out with a baseball or bowling ball. In other levels, you'll spray a water hose and try to get the blocks out with your stream.
Most of the time, you move from one level to the next, earning bronze, silver, or gold medals based on your score. Not only does the way you interact with blocks change from level to level, but the objectives change as well. You might need to remove blocks with varying point values from a tower while trying to prevent blocks with negative point values from falling. There are also some cases where you'll throw balls and only want to break gem blocks. You'll also need to contend with explosive blocks, vanishing blocks, and chemical blocks. Sometimes you must work around these blocks, but at other times, you can use their unique properties to your advantage.
You may struggle if you try to slowly remove blocks by pushing or pulling them rather than yanking them out like magician with a table cloth, and the game sometimes has difficulty recognizing how hard you threw a ball, but for the most part, the simple controls work just fine. It takes a little while to get used to manipulating the camera and how the game's physics--which are both inconsistent and more akin to what you'd find on the moon--affect the blocks. However, once you become acclimated, the difficulty is just right and the game is enjoyable. Its multiplayer component is especially enjoyable and allows four people to play 60 or so puzzles cooperatively or against one other.
The level creator not only lets you make your own puzzles, but it also gives you a chance to torment the Mitten Kittens.