Boom Blox, Steven Spielberg's Shoulder Murder Simulator Impressions

The combination of EA, Steven Spielberg and casual Wii gaming targeted at children and retirees may not instill much in the way of hardcore gaming fervor, but there is something unquantifiable about Boom Blox that makes it so appealing. On display on just one monitor at last week's Nintendo Media Summit, the Spielberg production—not unlike a virtual game of Jenga played with a cannon—had a consistent crowd of press and PR surrounding it, some of whom were repeat Boom Blox-ers regularly returning for another taste.

Boom Blox's main gameplay draw lies in the ability to knock down towers of inconsistently shaped blocks with the toss of baseballs, bowling balls, whatever, all of which adhere to an accurate physics model. Simply line up your shot, after a careful panning and scanning of the camera, then whip the Wii-remote at the screen to start knocking blocks off. Special blocks and multipliers pile on the tactics, but gamers of any skill level can compete from the get-go.

If any game needs to be bundled with the Wii Remote silicone safety condom, it's Boom Blox. Players may be encouraged to violently whip the Remote at the TV, adding extra force to their throws—and extra muscle strain. It's not entirely necessary to give it your all with dramatic, forceful throws, as side pitches and underhanded tosses were just as, if not more, effective in toppling blocks efficiently. A more measured flick of the wrist recommended, as is a tight Wii Remote wrist strap.

Spielberg's first collaborative effort with EA may not have been what you were expecting, but there's something indescribably fun about deconstructing the pre-built levels with up to three other Wii gamers. The only downside to four-player competitive Boom Blox-ing is often the long wait between turns, as your rivals can take an extended period to plan out their shots as you watch. They'll be taking all the good shots, too, or so it seems as you're left with nothing but clean up duty.

The concepts behind Boom Blox may not sound like much, but the impressive number of puzzles and game modes, combined with a deceptively simple mechanic, may warrant more looking into.


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