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A PSP Video Game Review: Ultimate Block Party

An enjoyable puzzle game from Cyber Front that puts a unique twist on your typical Japanese puzzle game.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Ultimate Block Party (ころん)

PLATFORM: Sony PSP

DEVELOPER: CYBERFRONT

COMPANY: Conspiracy Entertainment

The addicting Japanese arcade coin-op “Kollon” has reached American shores with a new name:“Ultimate Block Party” featuring characters by Misumi Reiko. A puzzle game that utilizes its own twist on puzzle games similar to “Bejeweled”, “Zooo”/”Zoo Keeper” and even “Tetris” and to make things even more alluring for the PSP puzzle game fan is that it’s a budget title sold for $19.99.

First of all, the modes are as follows:

*SINGLE PLAY MODE – Single play mode allow for practicing, training and a mode where you go for higher points.
*MULTIPLAYER MODE – Where you compete against other characters or compete with a friend via wi-fi.

And the other two modes are the option and ranking modes.

GAMEPLAY:

The object of “Ultimate Block Party” is similar to most puzzle games where you line up a color and you eliminate connecting squares. You can play for points but in multiplayer level, you can go against different characters in the game thus showing a dual screen. Yours and the opponent. The object is by rotating four squares to link up colors. Similar to Tetris, if your blocks rise to high to the top, you will lose.

Now the twist with Ultimate Block Party is that when you link a certain color up, against an opponent, that color of the square can do a variety of attacks. There are seven different colors and as an example, if you link a lot of blue squares, your opponent will then receive squares that are four times the size of a regular square. Red will makes your four square selector turn into a 9 square selector making this a bit difficult. And other squares have different purposes such as creating rectangles to hiding rows of your opponent and more.

Throw in other things such as arrow triggers which can make a whole row change a color and also bombs which can eliminate squares around it.

So, this adds to the complexity of the game. While you focus on eliminating squares and doing combos, you need to pay attention to the colors of the squares because your opponent is very challenging.

CONTROLS:

Controls are simple: X,TRI rotates the 4 blocks to the right, SQUARE to the left. CIRCLE, R and L adds rows of blocks.

GRAPHICS:

Puzzle games are not really judged graphically but having played several puzzle games, the positive is that Misumi Reiko’s characters are interesting. With 8 characters, they have their own style. From Kollon and Marinne being the school girls, Agent Blanc looking like a mafia gunman, Dynamite Ace looking like a super hero and so forth.

The negative…well, the graphics of a game like “Lumines” looks nice and clean. Really cool! “Puyo Pop Fever” has a style and attraction with its characters especially with the vocals that feature the characters reacting to an opponent.

This game doesn’t have that. Basic animation of the characters and even during campaign mode, basic story using Kollon and reusing animation over and over.

AUDIO:

The imusic is not that bad. The disappointment lies in the fact that there are no voices at all for the characters. This is where a game like “Puyo Pop” shines on the PSP and gives the characters its identity due to vocals and an actual story. This one…is just thought bubbles or balloons ala comic/manga.

Overall, this is a very fun game. It’s very addicting. Although other puzzle games may be better than “Ultimate Block Party”when it comes to the overall , music or, bonuses offered and how other games implement a story line or voices to characters, UBP does a great job of what its supposed to be…. a unique solid puzzle game. And with the price at $19.99, if you are a puzzle game fan, for the price and the fun factor, definitely a game worth checking out.

RATING: 78%/100

PROS:
+ Unique puzzle game. Incorporates elements from other puzzle games but adding interesting features with the the squares.
+ Fun and enjoyable gameplay
+ Easy to learn and pick up
+ Budget title and sold for $19.99
+ Popular arcade game from Japan makes its way to the US introducing us to interesting characters
+ Quick load time
+ A game with good replay value

CONS:
– Compared to “Lumines” or “Puyo Pop Fever”…graphics are not as pretty.
– No voices for the characters
– BEING NITPICKY: Putting true single player competitions under multiplayer and single player mode being just playing for points.
– Not much their for secret or bonuses
– BEING NITPICKY AGAIN: You wish for a game that is unique as this, there would be more…more modes.
– You need to save manually, no auto-save

Reviewer’s Score: 7/10