Enjoy Gaming had the nifty idea of letting players create and share their own block-falling puzzle games à la classics Tetris and Columns. Released to the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop recently, Cubed3 takes a look at whether the end result of Block Factory is worthy of a purchase.
Just about everyone and their grandparents has played Tetris in some shape or form, and there’s no denying the addictiveness of the simple little puzzler. Various takes on the classic formula naturally span out from it, with Columns being another well-known block-falling shape-clearer. They are all simple enough concepts that many players might have thought they could create something similar themselves. Block Factory aims to make that possible.
Pre-built into the game itself are four ready-made games to try out, with a couple of them essentially being the aforementioned Tetris and Columns. The central selling point of Block Factory comes in creating your own takes on block-dropping games, though. On top of all of the traditional Tetromino shapes we are all familiar with, an array of block designs are available for one to put into their game, with the option to choose colours for each. More in-depth preferences include either rotating or turning the blocks, allowing gravity to pull down hanging shapes, setting to score points through clearing lines or aligning blocks of the same colour, the point at which the game speed levels up, as well as plenty more.
Unfortunately, the types of games that can be created are still limited and score attacking is the only game type available. Clearing a certain number of lines or colours in a time limit could have been a different option to put in for some more variety. The creation process can oftentimes be a little bit of trial and error as it’s not until after saving a creation that it can be tested out, and if a game doesn’t turn out how it was intended, then traipsing back through the editing menus can be an annoyance. A distinct lack of giving created games a meaningful description is unusual, too, with titles limited to five characters.
It is thankful that a sharing system has been put in place, though, with players able to swap created puzzles through StreetPass and download more via QR codes. There may be people out there that will create a few unique games, so it is fortunate the sharing features are implemented. It’s a bit difficult to recommend Block Factory to anyone that already owns established puzzlers in the vein of Tetris, however. For those that have yet to experience such games it is a good little bundle considering the pre-made classics that are present from the off and, of course, the game-making element means the cheap price is quite appealing. However, there is only so much players can create, and it’s not possible to design more detailed puzzlers like Dr. Mario or Tetris Attack, with variants of Tetris and Columns being the ones this game will always refer back to.
Straightforward controls move and rotate blocks, reaffirming why Tetris is still so playable today. All games are high score endless challenges, though, which only serve to quicken the repetitive nature.
Simple and clean is the way here, with a variety of colourful background and block themes to choose from. Stereoscopic 3D doesn’t offer much and some extra effects might have been appreciated.
The same cheery track loops endlessly during gameplay. It could be a lot worse, but lack of other tunes to choose from or allowing for the playing of personalised music is a shame.
Tetris-like games have the potential to last forever, always demanding 'just one more go' from those that pick them up, but since nearly everyone has played these types of games already it’s unlikely to hold much interest again since the formula has grown stale by now. The game builder may churn out some good puzzlers from others to download, though, which may increase the long-term appeal.
It is a good idea from Enjoy Gaming, but sadly the limited customisation options mean games will usually end up roughly the same. For £3.60, this isn’t a bad buy if 3DS owners are looking for a game that contains classic puzzle themes and has a reasonable game editor thrown in, but for most people Block Factory simply will not be worth the time or money.