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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Online Entertainment
Developed By: Empty Clip Studios
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1-2
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: March 18, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Price: $9.99
Written By: Matthew Prunty

March 29, 2010 - With the launching of the PlayStation 3 back in 2006, Sony finally dove head first into the online spectrum of downloadable games. While at the time, there was only a hand full you could acquire, nowadays there are hundreds of titles ranging from action to adventure, horror to party, that sometimes it could be hard to choose a title. However, it’s the little things that generally make a title stand out and that’s the case with the latest title from developer Empty Clip Studios. The developer partnered up with Sony Online Entertainment to release the addicting puzzler known as Groovin’ Blocks for the PS3. Released for the Nintendo Wii almost two years ago, this puzzler mixed with electronica-style music sees life once again; this time on the PS3 and with several new enhancements.

With a title like Groovin’ Blocks, one would argue that music plays an integral part into the gameplay mechanics, which is definitely true for this title. Though the music works hand-in-hand with the puzzle mechanics, it’s the music which stands out among the two as hook. Whether you are jamming to “I Love My C-64”, “Le Mix 3:4” or any of the 20+ music tracks within the game, you feel a since of energy flowing through you as you try to survive the puzzle and earn lots of points in the process. Also what makes these music tracks within Groovin’ Blocks so addicting at times is their infusion of 8-bit game sounds and accents, which are surely to bring back memories of those who grew up on the 1980s.

Groovin’ Blocks plays host to three difficulty levels --Casual, Experienced and Hard-- all of which are accessible from the first time you load the game. You can expect each difficulty to recycle several of the songs from the easier difficulty levels, however new tracks are also implemented to ensure you are not on equal footing when tasked with the harder difficulty setting. Each song within the game sports its own level, which doesn’t end unless you survive the whole song or you allow the blocks to stack to the top of the board, which will result in you loosing the game. You can think of Groovin’ Blocks as a cross between Lumines and Tetris, however without the worries of those darn L blocks. As you complete block chains of 3 or more blocks, you earns points which by the end of the song, help you determine how many stars you will receive for said song. Starting out with the easier songs, it only takes 4,000 points for one star, 6,000 points for two stars and 10,000 points for three songs. Of course, the harder the songs become, the more points are required in order to acquire more stars. When you feel it’s time to move on to the harder difficulty levels, expect the need to earn thousands upon thousands of points in order to unlock new songs within said difficulty level.

Groovin’ Blocks gameplay mechanics are designed to work in sync with the music within the game. While starting on the Casual difficulty setting, it’s not really required for your movements to be in sync with the music, on the higher difficulty levels it’s a necessity in order to achieve higher point totals, which are needed to get the most stars possible. When you perform successful drops within unison to the beat of the music track, you add to your combo, which eventually leads to higher score multipliers. Considering this game caters to music enthusiast and non enthusiasts alike, the game includes visual cues which range from a sliding metronome to pulsating blocks. Once you are really into the groove of the tracks, and time your drops within the accents of the songs, you can double the multiplier number you currently have, which will vastly increase the points you bring in with each successful chain that’s eliminated.

While this game can be fun by yourself, you are able to play with up to four of your friends within a competitive or cooperative nature via the multiplayer mode. While this is definitely a nice addition, which will hours of additional gaming, this feature is only limited to Local play. There are leaderboards included, letting you see the scores of the top players within a particular song on a particular difficulty level. Upon scoring high enough, you will be able to sort the scoring listing to find out where you currently place on said leaderboards. There is also the inclusion of a Color Blind mode, which changes the blocks to different shapes, which is actually a bonus for those who are and are not color blind. The last of the features that are included within Groovin’ Blocks is the ability to calibrate the visuals and the controller just in case you feel that your timing seems to be off a bit and you know it isn’t you.

For $10 ($9.99), Groovin’ Blocks is a solid gaming experience for the PS3. While the visuals have been overhauled to take advantage of the PS3’s high Definition resolutions, the interface is still clean and slick, not providing anything that would get in the way of the visual experience. I have to say I rather enjoyed the chose in music for this title and how the developer incorporated playing the game to the rhythm of the music can result astronomical high scores (well maybe not astronomical). With the inclusion of a multiplayer mode --only available for Local play—and in-depth leaderboards, hours can be spent trying to become to top dawg.


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