Bloktonik


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Rating: 3.9/5 (56 votes)
| Comments (26) | Views (17)

Jerradbloktonik screenshotSomeone owes me an apology. Specifically, that someone is the person in charge at Robotube Games, developer of the new colored block-matching game Bloktonik. It's entirely his fault that I haven't gotten anything done in a week. My lawn looks like a jungle, my new Swedish furniture has yet to be assembled, and something in my kitchen is starting to smell. But it's not my fault, I'm this close to beating my high score. Just a few more tries and then I'll be ready to rejoin civilization. Probably.

It's a tried-and-true formula: match a certain number of the same colored blocks, 4 in this case, to clear them from the board for points. As you progress you have to deal with more and more colors, going as long as you can until you run out of space on the board. With Bloktonik, the difference is that blocks don't just fall from the top; they come from all sides. They will continue moving towards the opposite wall from which they started, and your goal is to bring them to rest against other blocks, matching 4 of the same color to remove them entirely. The game will continue this way until you run out of room for the blocks, at which point it's game over.

The game is controlled entirely with the [arrow] keys, navigating the block perpendicular to the wall from which it came. Scoring is done through matching blocks of the same color, with larger combos being worth more. Once a group of blocks is cleared, anything that was anchored to it will go flying in the direction that the last block was headed. If these freed blocks don't touch anything else, they'll just fly off the screen with no penalty. However, if a block that you're controlling manages to make it all the way across to the opposite wall, you will be penalized with a block with a particularly menacing-looking skull on it. These skull blocks can only be removed with a rainbow-colored block, which is your reward for reaching 5,000 points and a new level. There are also a number of secret blocks and combos to discover, but it's better not to go into the specifics of those; half of the fun is in finding new ways to maximize your score.

bloktonik2.jpgAnalysis: I wasn't lying when I said that this game is addictive. We've seen matching games done in any number of ways, but Bloktonik manages to implement a lot of innovative new features that can keep you playing for hours. Every time I thought I had the game figured out, I would find a new combo, and then I would spend the next 2 hours trying to figure out just what I had done to cause it in the first place. The instructions page gives a clear (not to mention highly entertaining) picture of how to play, but the specifics are left up to you to figure out.

The graphics are nice and shiny, with some quirky details that don't contribute much to gameplay, but add a nice atmosphere. The music did start to grate my nerves after 5 or so hours of playing, but it's easily silenced at any point in the game. The only real drawback here is that not everything is really complete. The game itself is finished, but there are some dead links on the website, and the high score list has yet to be implemented. I'd really like to be able to show off my high scores, unless they're not as impressive as I'm hoping, in which case it would be nice to have something to aim for. But with versions being developed for mobile platforms and WiiWare, everything will hopefully be finished sooner rather than later.

A new twist on an old classic, Bloktonik is a great way to waste an afternoon. Or several, depending on how willing you are to are to avoid the real world.

Play Bloktonik.

26 Comments

Great game, but it needs a way to pause it. I can't play it otherwise.

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I have trouble seeing the yellow from the green. :-(

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This game is rather addicting !!! >_<

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I can't believe this community can say things like "addictive" and "I haven't gotten anything done in a week" with a smile.

Addiction and laziness are not things to be taken lightly. They can kill you.

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StephenM3 Author Profile Page October 6, 2009 11:21 PM

I think most people have enough of a grasp of hyperbole that the actual concept of addiction remains untarnished in its importance.

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BuenoCabra Author Profile Page October 6, 2009 11:40 PM

I'm with OtherBill. I couldn't figure out why my six yellows weren't disappearing.

Why do game designers insist on using shades of yellow and green that are so close? Darker greens would be a big improvement to many games of this type.

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Hi everyone, I'm the developer of this game, and I appreciate the comments. I'm implementing the suggestions you have here.

Thanks for the helpful feedback!

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Since the developer is here, some notes:

- I'm occasionally encountering two sorts of bugs. They're possible interrelated, but I'm not certain. Occasionally a single block will be destroyed immediately upon landing. The sound (and, I believe, animation) for a successful group of blocks plays at that time.

-- I'm not sure if this is independent of the previous issue or not, but occasionally a block I'm dropping will land in mid-air, as though there were an invisible block in the way. I'm not certain if the space where the invisible block might be is considered full or empty on subsequent turns.

-- Lastly, I definitely hope for high scores to be logged soon. A world-wide high score table is fine, of course, but I hope it can also record a separate personal list. *Also* -- and I've been a fan of this since drop7 came out -- it would be great if the personal high score list would keep track of your *average* score. (This can be calculated by simply keeping a running tally of the previous average and the number of games played. No need to store your entire history of scores.)

Thanks for the great game! Hope to see it improve soon.

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Ok, found 2 bonuses:

empty the whole screen

make a rainbow land on the anchor: rainbow dud

Anybody got more ?

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Nobody: Very interesting, regarding this bug...I will look into this indeed.

The high score list is being worked on as we speak. We've been having some weird troubles on our end getting the server to write the scores and record them. The person scores is an interesting idea as well, we'll have to implement some kind of login-type system. I also do like the average scores idea!

Great feedback all around. Will put these on my notes list and see what I can do.

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I think I squashed the bugs mentioned in the above post! Please let me know if you still encounter them (email me through the "About" page if you like.)

Be sure you refresh your cache if you've been playing the game.

Thanks again for the feedback, everyone. It's extremely helpful.

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arrrgh I made it to level 11 on normal, score 56500. It gets too hard too quickly, I think. :(

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Anonymous October 8, 2009 3:02 AM

When the block that is going to drop in has nowhere to go the game basically ends. But if the block dropping in is a rainbow block shouldn't it destroy the block below it? Instead, the game ends...:(

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OMG I hit level 58, score 290200... O.O

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The previous fixes seem to have gotten rid of the ghost block problem.

Another buggy thing: It's possible this is a problem on my end because I have a bunch of other things running on my computer right now, but the game seems to slow down just a touch a moment after getting a bonus score and playing that animation. I was just playing and got a bunch of bonuses in a row (cycle of rainbow blocks hitting the center cube, raising to next level, next rainbow block hitting the bare cube). The game then froze for about a second and -- especially since this now brought me above level 30 where in general the boxes are possibly falling a bit too fast for the lag -- I suddenly had four boxes piled up in each direction.

My high scores so far, so I have them stored somewhere:

normal mode
174100
lv.34

master
157250
lv.31

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Thanks again for the reports.

nobody: I believe that is something relating to the speed of your computer...I believe the clock is still "ticking" at regular speed while your CPU is trying to make heads or tails of whats going on.

Regarding the Rainbow Block not registering a hit if the opening is already stopped up - this is intentional and is consistent with the rules of the game. Since the "launch space" is not a legal play space, blocks cannot "stop" on it for a match. It is outside of the legal grid space. Blocks can only be considered as landed and checked for matches if they are on the legal grid. Adding this space as a "legal spot" would add a lot of problems to the game. These spots are equivalent to the "NEXT" indicator in Tetris; they're not real spaces where objects are considered in play.

On my end as a designer, I will do some graphical changes to the board to insinuate this visually. Thanks for the comment, it helps to see the game through the eyes of new players. Hopefully, (with the added scoreboard), this will become a game that everyone will enjoy and pass along.

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Level 91!!! Score 456450... beat that! XD

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Did the algorithm change today? Because while previously levels 30 and above would have the blocks falling too fast for me to move them more than one or two spaces in either direction before landing (and thus lv 39 or so was the highest I'd think was possible to reach), I now just scored 369100 at lv73 on normal mode.

Another bug: I played one game in which the level number started at 2 and then went down to 1 after the first level advancement, and then started counting up normally again.

About the speed of blocks falling at higher levels, how fast *are* they supposed to be falling. I mentioned earlier I have a bunch running on my machine at any one time(a MacBook Pro from last year running windows XP). *Is* the game supposed to reach a level at which it really is impossible to play much further?

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One more high score update:

556350
lv111

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and master mode (prev. was normal mode):

245200
lv49

Another bug/request. When restarting a game after just playing one, it would be great if it would remember your music on/off setting. As of now it resets to music-on each time.

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Level 111!!?? Holy crap. That's borderline insanity.

Making note of music issue, will fix.

Leaderboards will be added within the next few days, fingers crossed.

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You tweaked the drop speed again so that it's now impossible to get much farther than level 50. :(

It would also be nice if you allowed bonuses to stack. For example, it's possible to clear the board and get a combo in a single drop, and it's also possible to clear the board by clearing out 7 blocks of the same color. But you only get credit for one of these bonuses.

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atomic: the drop speed hasn't been changed one bit since I started working on the game 2 years ago. You are probably running too much stuff in the background and it's screwing with your CPU in relation to how it keeps up with the game. I assure you nothing at all was changed.

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Another highscore update:

Normal Mode:
1063450
Lv.212

I really think there must be something inconsistent in either the scoring algorithm or the speed-increase system. This time around (with other programs not running) the speed was manageable up until the very last level-up indicator, after which the blocks were falling too fast to move more than one space (if that) in either direction before touchdown.

I'd love to hear official word about what level is *supposed* to start being too fast to really play... (there are clearly different speeds assigned to each level for master vs. normal, right?)

In any case, I must find this game compelling since I'm still playing it. Thanks again...

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I'm sure this is getting tiring by now, but a new high score update, this time for Master mode:

Master mode:
1079350
lv.215

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Another high-score update, this time for Normal mode, with the caveat that they've definitely changed things since this was posted and I had last played. (Music button is moved to lower-right from upper-right, though it still seems to revert to music-on each time you play, and now there's a bomb you can activate by pressing the spacebar).

Normal Mode:
1968250
lv.393

Incidentally, I'm still convinced that the speed/level algorithm is inconsistent. Sometimes it seems to reach the hectic speed somewhere around level 30 or 60 (I forget which). This time it wasn't hectic until the last few levels (above lv. 300, I guess, though when you get that high I think you start jumping multiple levels in a single play, since the amount each action is worth goes up with each level.)

(still no high score functionality, incidentally)

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