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PLATFORM: Xbox 360, PS3, DS

ESRB RATING: E
DEVELOPER: EA Los Angeles

PUBLISHER: EA
 

THE PITCH


“From the mind of Steven Spielberg comes the videogame equivalent of Jenga!”

Steven Spielberg allegedly got interested in creating some more games (he previously helmed Medal of Honor after Band of Brothers)
after seeing what the Wii was capable of while playing it at E3 2006 with Miyamoto. The first thing he thought of was
the universal appeal of knocking shit down. Namely, blocks. To his
credit, it is something that both the old and young can enjoy, and this
game is proof.
  


THE PLAY
 

True to the name, the game is all about wanton block destruction. Besides grabbing and pulling blocks from stacks like Jenga, you’ll be throwing balls at structures, destroying crates by using the remote as a gun/bowling ball launcher, and creating your own Domino Rally-style puzzle fests.

The thing about the game that makes it work is that the physics are goddamn perfect. Depending on where you hit a block and how heavy it is, it’ll react accordingly. It makes for some tense situations when you’re trying to knock over a huge tower, or trying to keep a structure from falling.
 
The game has pretty strong single and multiplayer modes that get increasingly hard as you go through them. Later on, other blocks are added to the mix- like red dynamite blocks that explode when hit, or purple disappearing blocks that vanish and allow things above to drop down. Probably my favorite is the green chemical blocks that work as normal blocks until they hit another green one, when a chemical reaction causes them to explode.


I regret nothing!


But the best part of the game is the variety. Sometimes you’ll be trying to knock a group of towers over with only a couple of throws, another time you’ll be trying to get as many points as you can get in a certain amount of time. There are levels that have you trying to stop invading animals from knocking over your towers, and others will have you pulling out blocks under baby sheep, trying to get them down to safety without killing them. There are even full-on shooter levels that have you taking out crates that get shot across the screen!
 
There’s dozens of different game modes and the difficulty scales nicely, providing you with plenty of challenge.

And man, is it fun.


THE PRESENTATION

It’s blocks. Everything’s blocks.


Monkeys and Sheep- one of the most heated rivalries in the animal kingdom.


So yeah, not the most visually stunning game to date, but it does the job, and the physics really are perfect. The little animal creatures that infest every level will delight your kids and female acquaintances, while you might revel in “accidentally” lobbing the ball at them and watching them explode in a puft of smoke.

The music is repetitive and annoying, so try to remember to turn it off before you get into a multiplayer game, and blast something good from your stereo instead.
 

THE REPLAY




The single player mode starts you off nice and easy, but soon gets real tricky. There’s an adventure mode that contains a story of sorts. It’s a nice try but you really don’t need excuses to topple block structures- it’s fun no matter what the motivation. The single player is where you’ll get objects for the Create mode (more on that later), as every gold medal you get

But besides the surprisingly robust single player mode (with over 300 levels!) there’s over 100 multiplayer levels, both co-op and competitive. This is where you’ll spend the most of your time. You can choose to compete in any of the multiplayer game types or simply click on the party option which chooses them at random for you. Up to 4 players can play at once taking turns, or even play a splitscreen game where you try to knock down the opponents castle before they get yours.

From the few months I’ve had the game it’s been requested tons of times by my friends and family. It’s similar to Wii Sports, in that anyone can get into it and play for hours. It’s fun, addicting, and it’s pretty stunning how knocking over blocks never really gets old. All you need is some great physics.


Never let your kitties go trick or treating in The Forest of Dead Rapists.


If you’re into level design, they have a really simple yet full-featured Create mode that lets you make a board of your choosing, and even send it to friends via Nintendo’s horrible Wii Connect mode (if you have people’s friend codes, in other words.) It would be nice if they had a server set up so we could upload and download the best ones, but such is life. This mode will make sure that the game will never get old.
  


THE VERDICT


For game starved Wii owners (ie, every single person with a Wii) this is one of the best games you can pick up. It’ll satisfy both the casual and hardcore gamer, and will frequently be pulled out during parties whenever people get sick of Rock Band. There’s not much to it but there doesn’t have to be- it’s simple and fun and everything you could want in a game for the Wii.

Let’s hope Spielberg’s next two games are as good as this one.


8.5 out of 10