Xbox Live Arcade is the home of several puzzle games, and most of them manage to stay fun and interesting for a while. The trend seems to be to take a tried and true gameplay style, shove some multiplayer in there, make it pretty and done. Tower Bloxx Deluxe fits into this category but with a rather glaring omission; online multiplayer.
Tower Bloxx Deluxe builds its foundation upon the idea of making towers for people to move into by stacking different pieces of the tower onto one another. This part of the game actually stunned me because of the way it stays simple and never veers away from the simplicity. Once you’ve managed to stack enough parts of the building, you just put a roof on top and that’s it. Now, as you are stacking the blocks, the crane sways as does the tower depending on how well you’ve managed to stack the parts of the building. It is possible to minimize the amount of sway on the tower by placing the blocks of the tower as closely aligned with the lower piece as possible. Landing a “perfect” stack will net more people that move in to the building. This makes the game have a bit of strategy, but unfortunately I found it to be a bit too difficult for its own good.
In Tower Bloxx, there are a few different game modes to choose from. We have Quick Game, which allows you to play as long as you can maintain tower stability and not drop too many blocks. Time Attack lets you play for a limited amount of time but also allows you to gain more time by building the tower quickly making it to the next checkpoint. Build City mode is the most interesting mode, because it manages to have a small bit of story behind it. Well, perhaps story is pushing it a bit far. Two people in a building overlooking a city are discussing that the city is going downhill and they need to develop a strategy to stop it. The lady mentions how Tower Bloxx are the clear answer and that you, the player, are going to be the one developing the new section of the city. The game then allows you to choose the first section of the map and you’re off to the same puzzle gameplay as before. The difference is that there are different tower types you can use which allow for more population in these towers. Harness enough new inhabitants and you can move onto the next section of the city. This would be fine, but I found myself stuck at one point where I had to replay the same towers over again, and attempt to try and build my towers better.
The most glaring problem with Tower Bloxx comes on the multiplayer side. Tower Bloxx is 800 Microsoft Points ($10) and gamers have come to expect online mutliplayer out of their Xbox Live Arcade games. Without any kind of online, I can not even review this section of the game and therefore can only count this as a negative against the game. This is rather unfortunate, because this is where the game’s legs could have been, and I probably would have played a bit more of it given the opportunity.
Overall, Tower Bloxx Deluxe really isn’t a bad game that will probably get overlooked due to the massive amount of excellent titles already available on the Xbox Live Arcade service. The game has a pretty slick presentation and nice graphics, but the gameplay just won’t hold your attention for too long. The developer, Digital Chocolate, has previously been known to develop iPhone games, and maybe that’s where Tower Bloxx Deluxe would be best suited, as I can’t recommend it at its $10 price tag. I think Tower Bloxx could do with a sequel with more elements added to keep the gameplay fresh (and online multiplayer), and then we’d be talking.