One of the more hidden new IPs from Nintendo and Intelligent Systems makes a return in the form of Fullblox. The puzzler is now a free-to-start game with four expansions that can either be bought separately, or in one big bundle that comes to around the price of the game’s predecessors.
The gimmick in Fullblox is a bit more intense than the previous games. In Pullblox, you simply pulled the blocks out in three different levels of depth, while Fallblox allowed for you to pull them out from underneath others. Fullblox takes this to a new level by creating a large 3D environment that allows you to pull the blocks in any direction, as long as they aren’t blocked by others. This notably expands the depth of the stages, and, tied with the new 3D depth, presents some really unique ideas such as having to climb through a double-decker bus to complete a puzzle. This makes the game seem remarkably different to its predecessors.
When you begin, you just get a simple seven-stage tutorial on how to play the game, which is the full extent of the ‘free-to-start’ aspect in Fullblox. But, with four different options to increase the available stages, there is plenty to do.
First is Mallo’s Playtime Plaza. This subgame has 100 Fullblox stages to play through and creates various challenges or murals to complete. These are relatively simple and can help you get into the game fully. As this offers you the most stages, it is also the most expensive of the four options.
Next is Poppy’s Sculpture Square, which presents 50 different murals and objects to play through and complete, which are of a higher average difficulty to the ones conquered in Mallo’s Playtime Plaza.
Thirdly we have Corin’s Fortress of Fun. This switches things up a great deal compared to the previous packs, introducing various obstacles and enemies such as turrets. You need to use these obstacles in addition to the standard Fullblox mechanics in order to complete the 50 stages. This means that you frequently have to reconsider how to tackle stages, and provides most unique portion to Fullblox.
Lastly, there’s Papa Blox’s NES Expo. These 50 stages are among the hardest that Fullblox has to offer, and are all based on sprites and characters from games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). These are quite fun but can be really tricky.
Finally, if you complete all the four of the packs you unlock access to Perilous Peak, which has the hardest stages in the game mixing all features. This is a massive challenge, and will certainly keep fans occupied for a while.
Also making a return is Fullblox Studio, which is unlocked if you purchase one or more of the packs and allows you to create your own Fullblox to share with people around the world using QR Codes. You will unlock features from each of the packs as you play them respectively.
While the packs do make up one full package, they are each treated individually which means that each starts with tutorials for each standard feature of the game. Which can be very frustrating if you want to just get started.
The game’s controls are tight, although you may find yourself using the rewind feature fairly often due to missing a jump a few times since it can mess you up. That’s especially true when faced with diagonal jumps, but other than that you are in full control throughout the game’s entirety.
The graphics in Fullblox are colourful and cute, but there is a discrepancy between the 3DS models. On the standard 3DS, the game runs at a paltry 30 frames per second whereas on the New Nintendo 3DS it runs at 60 frames per second. It’s not clear why there is such change, but it can be a bit disconcerting if you do end up going from one version to another.
The sounds are classic tracks that go with puzzle games. Nothing overly memorable, but nothing bad at all. There are some nice touches with sound effects throughout the game, such as the victory theme being 8-bit in NES Expo, but overall it’s a peaceful puzzler.
Fullblox is definitely worth paying for. The entire package provides over 250 puzzles for £8.99, and seeing them all through to completion will take much of your time. While you may opt to just go for individual packs that appeal to you more (such as the nostalgic NES Expo), I’d recommend buying all four. Fullblox has evolved the series greatly and it is bound to be great fun for any fans of the puzzle genre.