I’ve had the privilege of reviewing a lot of iOS games in my short time blogging. iOS games tend to come in a few varieties; currently the tower defense (think Plants Versus Zombies or Tiny Heroes) and physics puzzlers (Angry Birds or Where’s My Water) reign supreme in the App Store. It’s refreshing to have something truly new to peruse, even more so when it’s actually fun to play.
Groundcontrol ApS does just this with their game Blocker. The concept is both complex and simple. At it’s core Blocker is a digital board game, sporting elements of Chess or Go blended with the social aspect of iOS gaming. The game field is a segmented hexagon, the object is to connect opposing colored tiles with game pieces advanced from the edges. Each player is allotted twelve color-marked tiles that can be pushed into the field of play from the edge of the board; each tile will push any tiles ahead of it but no tile can be pushed off the board- once a row of spaces has been filled those spaces are locked. They can be freed by setting off one of the six Destruction Zones that will remove all tiles save “protected” tiles that touch another of the same color.
This fairly simple game quickly became very difficult as I tried to form a strategy during test play. I stuck to playing the game’s AI (available in easy, medium, or hard modes) and had to play a couple games before I won my first round. While the game is compatible with most iOS devices, I preferred to play on the larger screen of my iPad- more real estate made for a better gaming experience. Once I had a feel for the rules the gameplay was just as absorbing as some of the board games I loved when I was younger. You’re not stuck playing faceless AI- Blocker is capable of connecting to others via a dedicated Facebook page where you can play your friends or post to the wall for a random challenge. One addition I’d like to see is GameCenter integration to make the game even more social.
As a final bonus, Blocker is available as a free ad-supported version for the curious with an optional in-app to upgrade to an ad-free pro version offering enhanced AI and a two player offline mode. If you’re looking for something new to whet your iOS gaming appetite on, give Blocker a try. It’s available now via the iTunes App Store for the iPhone and iPad.