Why We Love iBlast Moki 2
In iBlast Moki 2, your goal is the same in each stage. There will be a set number of little round creatures named Mokis placed around the stage, and a swirly portal-like goal. You’re given a fixed inventory of items that you need to use to get the Mokis to the portal, ideally collecting the bonus flower items along the way. Mokis have no way of moving on their own, but their shape means that they’ll roll quite well if they’re on an incline, and if nothing else they are rather sturdy.
The brilliant point is that you have to set everything up in advance. Once you set things into action, you can’t interact with the scene except to cancel it and set everything back the way it was. You really have to think carefully about how to create just the right chain reaction of objects, especially as the stages get more and more complex. It’s a bit like a Rube Goldberg cartoon in the later levels, with Mokis getting bounced and blasted from one end of the stage to the other.
The most basic tool in your arsenal is a rather ordinary bomb. Place it near the Moki and when it detonates, the little fellow will be sent flying in the opposite direction. You can use it to lift them over obstacles, give them slight nudges, or send them rolling down slopes. As with all of the other explosive items, you can set the timer on the bomb to delay when it will go off, so chains of standard bombs with different timers can move a Moki around all on their own.
One new addition to the sequel that you’ll be using quite often is the paint bomb. These come in different types, and when they go off they’ll splatter paint with a special property on nearby objects. The yellow paint makes Mokis accelerate when they touch it, giving them the speed to go up slopes and gain air by flying off of edges. The red paint makes the surface bouncy, with Mokis acting like they’ve hit a trampoline. The green paint acts like glue, holding Mokis in place until they’re blasted off by something or another.
Aside from bombs, you’ll also be using several other items to solve the puzzles. Balloons will float upwards, and ropes can be used to tie objects together. There are also various gimmicks and contraptions in the stages themselves that you’ll have to manipulate. Spinning wheels can get your Mokis from point A to point B if you can find a way to attach them to it. Pulleys will carry you across chasms, and doors can be opened by applying a little bit of counter-weight. There are many more of these simple physics machines spread across the game’s 90 stages, and they certainly keep you on your toes.
The combination of different kinds and numbers of of Mokis, the fixed inventory of different bombs and items, the in-stage contraptions, and just the overall layouts of the levels themselves result in tons of extremely clever levels. This set-up also allows players to find their own solutions while narrowing the possibilities down enough that they don’t get overwehelmed by the options. The core experience is simply wonderful, and it probably could have been milked for tons of level packs or even sequels had Godzi Lab wanted to go that way.
Instead, they packed in an incredibly detailed Create mode that allows players to build pretty much any level that the designers could have. Indeed, the built-in levels were all constructed with these very tools. Considering what this mode is capable of, it’s obviously more than a little complicated to use, but the game does include instructions to help you out. In assembling your levels, you can use all of the joints, dynamic objects, and other pieces as you like. You can place bonus flowers, choose where the Mokis start, and more. It’s really fun to tinker around with, and if you have a friend nearby you can pass your device over to them and see how they fare on your stage.
Playing around with the editor also helps you appreciate how the physics work in the game, and just how clever the pre-built stages are in how they get the player to engage with them. That, more than anything, is the heart of iBlast Moki 2. The level designs are simply outstanding and show a developer who was reaching a certain degree of confidence in their abilities. The difficulty level ramps up perfectly, teaching players by showing them how things work in simpler arrangements before cooking up some truly confounding puzzles. Failure doesn’t even sting that much, since you can quickly go back and make whatever adjustments you need to without any penalty.
Figuring out the answers to the puzzles always feels great since there’s some variability in how each person gets there, and the presence of a target time and the bonus flowers always suggest that there could be another way to go about things if you just think on it a bit more. The App Store certainly has no shortage of physics puzzlers, but even with all the years behind it, there’s just something special about iBlast Moki 2.