There is more than one way to enjoy this simple but effective platform game construction set created in Flash. Leveraging the power of player-generated content and the Web, Block Action puts level design into the hands of millions.
Like many platform games, you control a game character in the third-person perspective with the goal being to advance it from start (yellow dots) to finish (blue dots) for each level, or stage. Use the arrow keys for movement [left] and [right], press [space] to jump. It's as easy as that. A Mario-style wall jump is even supported!
It is important to become familiar with the variety of block types that may exist within each level. Thankfully, there exists a game manual that does a good job of explaining everything you will need to know. Japanese and German language versions are also available.
The level editor allows you to personalize your creation by including your name and a comment that are both displayed on the stage's title page when done. Players may even search for other stages that you have designed.
To facilitate finding the best stages, an integrated rating system allows voting on whether a stage was good or bad, and the game keeps a running count of the votes for each.
Analysis: There is amazing depth to this game as evidenced by the thousands of stages already created by players. The graphics are rather simple in appearance, and yet this simplicity ensures that the game engine will run satisfactorily on a wide variety of system specifications. The integrated rating system is a nice touch and may help to reward the best designs with more players for them.
One thing I would like to see is support for sharing stages with friends via URL query strings, similar to the method employed by the previously reviewed Brain Strainer. Presently, sharing a stage requires knowing the stage number, and then a search for it using the game's integrated search facility. Update: Daigo wrote to tell me he has added support for URLs! =D
Some people may prefer the physics implementation, graphics and interface of N—a downloadable Flash game by Metanet Software—over Block Action, as both offer similar experiences. However, the simplicity of the browser-based Block Action makes it accessible to a wider audience.
Although level editors are nothing new, there is no doubt in my mind that the killer game apps of tomorrow will give players tools with which to easily add their own touch of creativity and to share their creations with others. Block Action, created by Daigo, is an admirable effort in this area.