Let’s bloom flower with Popo! This is a greening 3d puzzle. Rules are simple. The game is cleared if flowers can blossom in the faces of all blocks. It is a failure when stepping on the same face twice. When it is a little action frequency, it is a high score. Let’s play Bloom * Block!

If the bit of ‘kana on the game’s cover fail to indicate Bloom * Block of its Japanese origin, then surely the broken English in the quoted game description would do the trick. Bloom * Block, a solid 3-D puzzle effort from Doerai Games, is a bit of a rarity on Xbox Indies, which is more known for games sporting 2-D graphics and simplistic presentation. The polygon graphics and presentation as a whole are pretty slick for an XNA release, though there’s nothing about the simple box-shaped worlds and textured flower splotches which would greatly impress anyone. Popo herself is nicely modeled, and the menus and other art look excellent — I particularly like the bugs crawling along the frame along the edges of the screen. A thorough tutorial, bonus challenges, and badge (re: achievement) implementation on top of the single player quest ensure that player’s get their money’s worth here.

Bloom * Block reminds me very much of Kula World (Roll Away), another puzzle game in which players maneuver a character across a limited 3-D world to accomplish some tasks. Popo must walk along all surfaces of some 3-D object; each step blooms flowers (a simple texture change) upon any spot she rests upon. Popo can jump over existing blooms so long as they are only one block in length, but the game is over when she steps onto a square she has already visited.

It would be easy to dismiss Bloom * Block for being a “kiddie” game, but there’s a fair amount of challenge evident from the demo’s allowed challenges. Considering I bought Roll Away years ago for $10 US, Bloom * Block seems like a steal at the current $3 US asking price. I’ve passed on the demo primarily because the I’ve found the quick shifting worlds Popo explores made me a bit nauseous from motion sickness same as it did with Roll Away, but it remains an excellent title for consideration for those looking for a good puzzle challenge or a nice non-violent title for children.

June 06, 2010
May 15, 2010 | 240 points
Developer | Video | Download

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