Block Killer Review
Block Killer is an action shooter that tasks you with defending your line against waves of blocks. Armed with a laser cannon, you must shoot the blocks as they slide from the back of the game area towards you. If the blocks reach your line you lose some energy, once empty it is game over and the blocks have won.
There are 31 levels available to play, once a level is completed it is unlocked so you can return to it to try and beat your score. On most levels you have to destroy a certain number of blocks to complete the level. You have a limited number of bullets to do this, they do get replenished but with a much lower than starting amount and it also takes a few vital seconds leaving you unarmed. The controls are very simple, move left or right to aim and in later levels up and down to change tier, fire your cannon at a block and move on to the next one.
There are six types of blocks to contend with. The Normal blocks take one hit at the default difficulty level, two or three at harder difficulties. Moving blocks occasionally change position, Armoured take double the number of hits, Cloak will occasionally hide, Health will refill some of your energy and Tricky will both change position and hide. These blocks are gradually introduced throughout the game in tutorial levels of sorts. The variety of blocks is good and when you get further into the game they keep you on your toes with quick thinking on how many shots you will need to fire or keeping an eye on Cloak or Tricky blocks before moving on to the next block.
No shooter should be without power ups and Block Killer has four to help out. The Slow block will reduce the speed of all the blocks to half speed. The Reverse block will add health instead of damage. Minigun will replace your Laser Cannon with a powerful gun which will quite literally destroy every block in sight, and finally the Dual block which gives you a double barrelled laser cannon. The power ups are a very welcome addition to the game and without them even the Normal difficulty would be impossible!
As you progress into the game, an extra challenge is added with multiple tiers for the blocks to travel on. This is where the game starts to get much more challenging and you will often feel overwhealmed as there can be several blocks on different tiers with only a few seconds to spare to try and destroy them all. You can plan ahead to an extent, but I sometimes felt the randomness of the block spawning could lead to an unfair pattern, but it does go both ways and you can get easier patterns to defend against.
Scoring is a fairly important aspect of the game. Destroying a block will earn you 100 points in Normal mode, subsequent block kills will multiply the score to 200, 300 etc. Missing a shot will subtract some score from the multiplier. The brave and/or skilled players can rack up some great multiplier bonuses and playing at a higher difficulty will reward you with even more points. At the end of each level a statistics screen is shown with a summary of hit and missed shots, number and types of blocks destroyed.
Presentation is rather basic with mostly plain text menus which while work fine, they do detract from the overall quality. The in game graphics are a big improvement with colourful blocks and a virtual reality style design which looks the part. I did have an occasional issue with the controls, moving your target locks you onto the the next position or tier and when quickly moving you can sometimes over aim and miss where you intended to shoot. I would have liked to have seen an extra mode or two to give some replayability and increased lifespan such as a survival mode.
There are a good few hours worth of gameplay found in Block Killers. You can breeze through the first third of the levels in thirty minutes or so, the later levels will take more time as they increase in difficulty. The game plays well and while you will only replay a few times to improve your score, you do get good value for your 80 :MSPoints:. Well worth checking out if you are interested in shooters or fancy something a little different!
You can find more information and the trial and full versions of the game on the Marketplace.