Ultimate Block Party
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2006-07-16 PSP Puzzle E (Everyone)

For me, the appeal of Ultimate Block Party was in the similarities with two other great puzzle games: Super Puzzle Fighter and Tetris Attack. It seemed like a good blend of both games, which sounded promising as far as puzzle games go.

For those of you who are into the import situation, you will recognize Ultimate Block Party to be a port of a hit Japanese arcade title entitled Kollon.

The game itself is easy to get into. Beginners can start with the Tutorial and Practice modes to leaarn the basics, while experienced puzzle gamers can hop right into the competitive action in Multi Mode.

The gameplay is simple. At the bottom of the puzzle area, there are a bunch of colorful blocks. You have a 2x2 cursor that you use to rotate any four blocks at the same time. The objective is to match four or more blocks of the same color.

Just like in Tetris Attack, blocks keep coming from the bottom of the screen and you can speed them up to add to your color combos by using the trigger buttons. Extra blocks can come in very handy, but if you don't pay attention to your entire puzzle area, you might be doing more harm than good by pulling those rows up.

Groups of matching blocks won't pop right away; there is a short delay during which you can keep rotating other blocks to create chain reactions. The only ones you can?t rotate are those that are already part of the group.

Block Party has a single player infinite type of game, where you keep on rotating those blocks until eventually they start coming out of the bottom too quick to catch up and your pile reaches the top of the screen. But then there's the Multi Mode, where the real fun is.

Multi Mode lets you try out a Campaign Mode where you play as little blond Kollon in the weirdest storyline I've ever seen (if there actually is one). Kollon walks around and comes across other characters, and in some way or another she challenges them for a duel. For example, she comes across President Goodman and challenges him for having his fly open... I guess it's just that typical Japanese weirdness at work. Oddly enough, Arcade Mode is pretty much the same thing.

The VS. CPU Mode lets you go against all of the characters in as many rounds as you want, and in Wi-Fi Mode, if you're lucky enough to find someone else around who has a copy of the game, you're bound to have some real challenging fun.

In the multiplayer stages, each color of block has a special attack to affect your opponent. Blue blocks cause giant blocks to drop in your adversary?s play field. Orange blocks make the cursor show only black, white and gray shades, which in turn makes the real block colors unrecognizeable unless you move the cursor to the side to see them. Red blocks make the cursor bigger, and the more red blocks you pop at once, the bigger it gets. Purple blocks make little blocks of the same color clump together in odd shapes (and they show some really funny smiling faces on them). Green blocks have the worst effect of them all, reversing your controls.

Obviously, the more blocks you link together, the bigger the pop, and the longer the effect will last.

Ultimate Block Party is actually a more complicated puzzle than it seems, since only by practicing and by memorizing each of the block colors and respective effects can you truly master it. With its series of colorful characters with weird profiles, cartoony anime graphics and upbeat techno music, this is a party any puzzle enthusiast won't want to miss.