|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: UFO Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: UFO Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The difficulty curve is very gradual and definitely geared more towards a younger audience. Each stage requires you to meet a lava rock quota, and the first few dozen of the game's 99 levels aren't overly tough. The ability to continue where you left off each time you lose softens the blow of biting it after working hard for tons of levels, but it also takes out much of the difficulty and sense of reward gained for your efforts. Still, the game is hard to put down simply because there's something inherently fun about shooting colored circular objects at formations of other colored circular objects.
The upbeat, kid-friendly style is pleasing and not entirely over-the-top. A pre-historic theme is a little cheesier than necessary, but it works for what the game is going for. The music and sound effects gently accentuate the colorful presentation, though they don't significantly add or subtract much to the equation.
Two separate control schemes offer different ways to play, depending on the situation. The stylus controls are excellently implemented and offer a greater level of speed and precision when aiming your shots. They're preferable during normal play. Firing with touch controls is as simple as tapping and holding the stylus on the screen to move your aiming cursor before letting go to make the shot. The only downside is this setup is prone to create accidental shots, since quick taps will launch your rock munitions immediately. The slightly less wieldy button and D-pad scheme is sluggish in comparison, but it's more manageable when playing in the car or on-the-go.
Rock Blast isn't a decent game for its originality - it has little. It's a good game because it successfully apes the gameplay mechanics of Bust-A-Move, Snood, and other similar titles. Those puzzle games are notoriously addictive, and it's difficult to completely knock a game built on the same solid framework. Rock Blast follows suit, and it's far too easy to accidentally get absorbed into whiling away an hour or so matching colored rocks floating in lava. The problem - aside from being a blatant rip-off - is the game lacks much challenge and variety. It's definitely worth picking up for the kids, but older players looking for a puzzle fix are going to want to stick with one of the more mature puzzle games the concept is vamped from.
CCC Staff Contributor