Who doesn’t like planting crops and a little cross-pollination? It’s the kind of relaxing fun that got thousands hooked on Farmville, until those Facebook alerts got unbearable. Bloom Box [$0.99 / Free] is the new plant-based puzzle game from Nexxstudio. If you plant your seeds in the right sequence, you can set off a chain reaction that brings your tiny garden to life. It’s an intricate setup for a game that isn’t as complex as it wants to be.
Each level in Bloom Box starts off with a small flower-less garden and handful of boxes. The flower button at the bottom of the screen is connected to the first “bloom box” in the chain. The bloom boxes have dots on the top, like a tabletop-game die. If you tap one of the boxes, you can see where the box will spread its seeds. There are five different types of boxes, each of which shoots out between four to eight seeds at varying distances.
The goal of the game is to activate all of the bloom boxes, while trying to collect the three stars in the garden. Activate all your boxes and you'll see your garden blossom with cute, colorful plants. It’s a simple enough task to do, while listening to the soothing music playing in the background. Once you earn enough stars in the North Garden, you can unlock the South, East and Star Garden. Apparently, the West Garden never made the cut into this release. Outside of maybe unlocking a new type of bloom box, there are no inherent differences between any of these gardens. They just have a slightly altered horizon and different colored grass: green, blue, aqua and brown.
This is a fairly competent puzzle game that I just wish was a little better. There are just over 120 levels throughout the four gardens (not including the tutorial levels). However, it’s easy to breeze through most of the puzzles in under two minutes. For me, seeing the stars on the field was a huge giveaway to solving the puzzle. I could work backwards from the star farthest away from the first bloom box.
The game tries to mix up the challenges, placing land obstacles in the way. There is only one land obstacle, a patch of dirt where you can’t place a bloom box, but there may be three or four on a given level. Unfortunately, these land obstacles actually make solving the puzzle easier instead of more difficult. By limiting the number of squares that you can place a bloom box on, it also limits the chances for error. Look at the barren squares and the stars and you can usually deduce that the four bloom boxes go here, here, there and there… end of puzzle, onto the next one.
I like puzzles. So there was nothing stopping me from continuing through each of the 120-plus levels. They kept me entertained, but I just never felt like any of the puzzles were a real challenge. Puzzle games should offer you the chance to believe that you’re doing something slick or outwitting the game. Perhaps adding a gopher or two to the garden could make the puzzles a little more dynamic and interesting. Also, the game could benefit from larger gardens so that the puzzles can have more opportunity to scale up in difficulty. Our community has been chatting about Bloom Box on our forums so check out what they had to say as well.