So, ladies and gentlemen, here we are again, this time for the third and final part of our look at iPhone Denki Blocks!
THE SCORE DRAW
I like scores. How they are interpreted and presented is a different matter, but even clinical numerical summaries can act as a handy shortcut measurement.
I know, for example, that if your best score for Enchanted Forest Puzzle 2 is a paltry 2,305 that means you took a fair few moves to solve the puzzle, slowly, but didn’t manage to complete the Master Challenge.
A mighty 5,120 on the other hand says you are more efficient and faster but you still haven’t got what it takes to crack that Special Shape. Whereas my remarkable 9,069 not only tells you I did everything but that I did it with shrewd moves and nimble fingers.
And that I’m a smug git to boot.
It was a struggle to create a suitable scoring system for Denki Blocks! on GBA and GBC, so we left it alone and focussed on providing the best possible puzzle experience. It was only the need for scoring with the Sky version that resulted in a decent solution – one carried forwards and expanded on for this latest version of Denki Blocks!
- a fixed bonus for completing each puzzle
- a bonus for how few moves you used (compared to our best)
- a bonus for how quickly you did the puzzle (as above) and
- a fixed bonus for completing the relevant Master Challenge.
The Master Challenge is the real test and worth more than simply solving the puzzle. The bonus for moves is quite high because there’s definite skill in being efficient. How quickly you do the puzzle is less important and is least valuable – Denki Blocks! isn’t an action game after all – but the small reward for agility does provide a nice ‘pennies’ variation in scoring. I also like the fact that you can make mistakes chasing timed victories and make up for it with speed.
THE PRICE OF LOVE
We thought long and hard (and then longer and harder) about which puzzles to give away and how much play to give away in the free version and how much to put in the full version and how much to charge for that and…
If you give away too little you risk leaving players underexposed and unsatisfied (or even dissatisfied). If you give away too much you risk leaving players satiated and in no need of more – but that’s a better risk to take, surely?
Yes it is. So the free version of Denki Blocks! comprises 16 puzzles and 16 Master Challenges, which feels like too much – in the best possible way. It’s a refined set of puzzles to demonstrate the different ways to play. None of the puzzles is too taxing but a couple are noticeably (deliberately) tougher than the others to add spice. There’s at least an hour of play and pleasure here – let alone the replay value in completing the Master Challenges and then trying to beat your scores.
With the full version we went with 120 puzzles (and 120 Master Challenges) for £2.99. That’s about half the number of puzzles that featured in the (£35) GBA version all those years ago and a similar price to the Sky puzzle packs (50 pence for 25 puzzles – but without the Master Challenges). All told, that feels like good, solid VFM.
Blood, toil, tears and sweat aside, we made sure we polished iPhone Denki Blocks! until we could see our faces in it and also played and generally tested it until the world around turned to blocks. I reckon at one point I was in danger of turning into a block-fuelled Flaming Carrot.
Denki Blocks! Free and Denki Blocks! (Full) will both be available on the App Store very soon.
Next… The Denki Blocks! Starter
Then… The Denki Blocks! Story