Blocks That Matter is about intrigue, deception and, most of all, love. The power of love towards all things blocky. It is a tribute to games with blocks. And why not? Blocks are great. My first ever gaming experience was smashing a block as Alex Kidd. Only his blocks didn’t matter all that much (poor Alex Kidd).
You play as Tetrobot, a robot who can collect blocks of matter and set them four at a time. The blocks are scattered throughout the level, each with their own properties. The sand block falls when in mid-air, the wood block burns when set on fire and so on. Some blocks cannot be collected but still pose an obstacle. The goal of every level is to reach the portal, either by moving or setting blocks of matter. This is all in order to save the creators of Blocks That Matter, who aren’t making a game, but a robot, who is the robot in the game that they’ve made, which they didn’t in the actual game that you are playing, despite making it. Like I said, deception and intrigue.
BTM is a not-so-odd mix. It is reminiscent of plenty of games, particularly Boulder Dash, but still different enough to have its own unique identity. It’s a puzzle and platformer which switches emphasis between the two depending on the level. This means both your wits and your reflexes will be challenged, but if you’re bad at either, you might easily hit a brick wall and be unable to advance. I can hardly comment on the difficulty as I’ve played games like this my whole life, but if you’re new to either genre, I’m not sure how you’ll fare.
However, any gamer of intermediate skills will have no such trouble and will most likely feel challenged at times. BTM also has a hidden shiny in every level, as well as rewarding you for finishing the level with plenty of unused blocks. This, of course, means that there’s a lot of replay value in the forty regular levels and twenty bonus levels. And there’s a level editor as well! Something that’s perfect for BTM’s gameplay. There’s also the promise of free content, and the existence of a Steam cloud feature is well-worth mentioning.
If you’re a completionist, though, prepare to backtrack whenever Tetrobot gains new abilities, as some hidden shinies aren’t attainable on your first playthrough. What’s mildly irritating is that when you do get the required ability, getting the hidden item is extremely easy and the only reason you’ve had to backtrack is because you couldn’t destroy a particular block on your initial run.
The music and aesthetics are alright, although nothing amazing. It fits the game quite well and all the animations are smooth. All in all, I’d recommend Blocks That Matter if you like puzzles and platformers as it’s a nice mix of both and, as I’m seeing more and more indies do, offers a lot of content for its price.
Platform: PC, Mac
Developer: Sing Sing Submarine
Genre: Puzzle platformer
Time: 6 hours
Gripes: Way backtracking was executed
Get it for the: Love of blocks, content and skillful synthesis of puzzle and platformer.
Full disclosure: PXOD was given a PC review copy of the game from the developer. The normal levels were played to 100% completion, while only a few bonus levels were played. We also love blocks.