I recently visited some family, and my younger cousin, aged 7, was playing with a puzzle game that some of you may be familiar with. It’s called Rush Hour, and it’s been around for quite a few years now. The object of the game is simple: move all the cars around the grid in such a way that you can move the red car out of the grid. All vertical cars can only go up and down, and all horizontal cars can only go left and right.
I was quickly hooked myself, and after battling through most of the levels of the puzzle (it got rather difficult towards the latter stages!), I decided to see if there was a similar title available on the Apple iPad or iPhone. Sure enough, a game called Blocks following exactly the same concept is available from the App Store. The only difference between the two is that on Blocks, you have to get your orange block past all of the other blocks on the screen.
In Blocks, you have four levels, each consisting of 50 puzzles, making a grand total of 200 in all. In order to pass from one difficulty level to the next, you need to complete 25 of the puzzles on the previous difficulty level.
The graphics of Blocks are really simple, yet great, and add to the whole experience a lot. The blocks on the board look like marble, allowing you to easily distinguish the block that you have to get out of the board from all the rest. Just like the physical game it takes after that I mentioned earlier, the vertically placed blocks can be moved only up and down, whilst the horizontally placed blocks can be moved only left and right.
In the main menu of the app in the iPhone, you had to select the difficulty that you wanted to play at (easy, medium, hard, expert) and then choose the level on a separate screen. Thanks to the large screen estate of the iPad, however, these screens are now merged, with the difficulty available for selection at the top of the screen, and level choices available below in a grid like format. Admittedly, it’s a minor change, but a welcome one that requires one less screen in the process.
In addition to this, the playing area itself looks a lot more at home on the iPad’s display. The border is thicker around the area, and there is a little more breathing room, too. On the iPhone app, I always felt as if the developers really struggled to squeeze the game on to the smaller screen.
The concept is really, really simple, but Blocks has fast become one of the most used apps on my iPad in the past week. If you’ve got children in the family, they’re bound to love it, and adults will enjoy the challenges presented by the various levels, too. For just £1.79, you can download both the iPad and iPhone version in a universal app, so go and enjoy it on both devices and pay just once – let us know what you think in the comments!