Why We Love The Blocks Cometh
While just about everyone plays video games in some form or another these days, certain kinds of games are more widely-known than others. One of the most ubiquitous games of them all is Tetris. In any place where video games exist, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know Tetris. Blocks of various shapes and sizes fall down a narrow shaft, and you need to move those blocks into neat lines to make them disappear. Its clones are countless, its progeny numerous, its influence incalculable. So thoroughly mined is the concept, how can you possibly find a new spin on it?
The Blocks Cometh isn’t the first game to come up with the idea of sticking a controllable character in a Tetris-style well. Even Nintendo played with the idea in Wario’s Woods in 1994. But The Blocks Cometh presents those falling pieces as something quite different. They aren’t simple tools to be used for racking up a high score. Rather, they are the antagonists of this game. Their weight and mass is lethal. You won’t be picking these pieces up or manipulating them. Your tiny character can only try to avoid being killed by them as gravity runs its course on them. Luckily, the only way they can kill you is by falling on you. Small comfort.
Being crushed by a block isn’t the only way to die in The Blocks Cometh. It’s just the most likely way. As the blocks fall, the screen also scrolls up. Falling off the bottom of the screen is just as fatal as being squashed. You need to keep moving up, but doing so puts you at risk from the falling pieces. The higher you go on any particular pile of blocks, the narrower the footing tends to be. The narrower the footing, the less room you have to maneuver. It may be better to keep yourself about halfway up the screen, but that also carries risks. Characters have the ability to attack blocks and remove them, which can get you out of a pinch, but as it causes all the blocks above it to drop, it can also be your undoing. Risks, risks everywhere.
That’s the heart of The Blocks Cometh. From the minute the game starts to your eventual demise, you’re having to choose between dangerous situations. The specific nature of the danger changes based on your tactics, but you’re rarely safe for more than a second or two at a time. This incredible tension is exactly what makes the game work. Even in the easier modes, there’s a lot of strategy involved in pushing yourself as far as you can go. Whether you can take one hit or three before perishing, you’re still under pressure. Whether the blocks fall quickly or slowly, they’re equally deadly. This is the excitement that drives the best arcade games, that makes Tetris so utterly compelling, and ultimately what keeps you coming back to The Blocks Cometh.
Even the choice of which orientation you want to play the game in involves balancing pros and cons. Playing in portrait mode gives you a much longer view of the shaft, allowing you to see blocks coming a lot earlier. Playing in landscape mode gives you a shorter view of what’s coming, but the more zoomed-in view makes it easier to manage the blocks on a micro level. Decisions, decisions. Why not try both and see which one produces higher scores for you?
The Blocks Cometh gives a new perspective on one of gaming’s most well-worn set-ups, but ends up tapping into a similar vein of stop-and-start pressure to great result. The variety of modes allows players to familiarize themselves with the core concept while gradually turning up the heat, and the bevy of secret characters adds an excellent extra hook beyond striving for ever-higher scores. It’s a terrific game whether you’re just looking to burn a few minutes or want to settle in for longer sessions.