Considering how prevalent Match-3 puzzlers are on iOS, I’m surprised I haven’t really encountered one before themed after tropical birds and fruit juice. Yet, that’s exactly what we have with Blockolicious [$0.99 / HD], a color matching title from the minds of Hibernum Creations and Chilingo. Offering frenetic time-based gameplay, Blockolicious’ fun gameplay elements are overshadowed mainly by its lack of gameplay modes and questionable use of IAP currency.

Players are given two minutes to match one of three different colored blocks on the field. Successfully matching three or more generates a ‘Juice Block.’ Matching three or more adjacent juice blocks of the same color creates a juice bomb. Tap on the juice bomb to destroy all blocks of that specific color, substantially changing the playing field and opening up new combinations. However, juice blocks only have a shelf life of 5 seconds, which can only be extended if you create a juice block of any color next to existing juice blocks. The goal of each play through is to simply score as many points as possible by creating and chaining juice blocks and bombs. Players are awarded with coins at the end of each play through.

 

 

While the game play (like most Match-3s) is pretty simplistic, I give Blockolicious credit for providing a sense of urgency with its time limit. It forces you to think both fast and smart in order to get the most out of your juice and score the most points. The juice mechanic itself does a decent job of adding complexity while still maintaining the standard approachability of match-3s. Also, it’s a pretty cool feeling when you get in the ‘zone’ and start making juice bombs left and right, cascading in what feels like a never-ending amount of block destruction.

In addition to the standard gameplay, you have the option of selecting three power-ups that you can take into a play through. Each power-up corresponds to a block color, and you fill up their respective meters by matching blocks of the corresponding color. Power-ups range from removing all blocks in a row to adding a score multiplier to even extending the total time of your play through (by far the most useful). Players also have the option of spending coins to pre-fill power-ups before you start a game. While the power-ups provide a nice twist, I found them mostly ancillary and chose to focus more on creating juice blocks (time extension power-up notwithstanding).

While three power-ups are available at the onset, the other three are locked behind a coin wall (including the aforementioned time extender). And, as expected, there are plenty of options to purchase extra coins via IAP. Normally, I’m all for having a system in place where subsequent upgrades are unlocked with gameplay, but using a coin currency that can be easily spent on other things within the game in this manner feels far more like a freemium/paywall tactic than an actual reward system.

Granted, you can and will earn coins after every play through. In addition, you are rewarded with decent sums after unlocking each achievement. However, those rewards can only be earned once, and earning coins by simply playing is really slow going. Considering it took me about 3 hours of play to earn enough coins to purchase the most expensive power-up (and that was with the large amount of coins you get when you play for the first time), folks will be playing this game for a long time in order to unlock all three extra power-ups (or will bite the bullet and purchase coins).

While Blockolicious clearly lets you know that updates are coming, I’m still disappointed with the inclusion of only one mode. I would have liked having at least a few more modes with different time intervals, or preferably a freeplay/marathon mode. We know for sure that the latter is coming soon, but you should know up front that as of now, you’re only getting the two minute survival mode and nothing else.

 

 

Even though Blockolicious ends up light on the content, it’s still a decent little Match-3 game with enough interesting gameplay elements to stand on its own. The visuals, music and overall presentation also do a good job complementing the core gameplay and making the game stand out. It’s hardly revolutionary, but it’s worth a look for fans of the genre.

TouchArcade Rating

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Blockolicious Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5