Review: Xploding Boxes for BlackBerry

By rrrebo on 19 Sep 2011 02:10 pm EDT
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Xploding Boxes BlackBerryXploding Boxes BlackBerry

Let's face it, folks: we're busy people. We're movers and shakers, parents and deal-makers. Our smartphones have become our lifelines. They make it easier to stay productive, stay in touch, and stay organized.

In those rare "in-between" moments where we find ourselves with a few extra minutes to spare, some of us like to take a break and have some fun. Enter mobile gaming.

For me, the ideal for great gaming on the go is a game that's quick to launch, play, and put away. Games that can be played one-handed, have fast load times, and don't require an extensive commitment of time. Games like this fit easily into the chinks in our busy schedules. It doesn't have to be flashy or fancy; it just has to be engaging and fun to play.

One such game is Xploding Boxes, brought to you by Ebscer, maker of the hugely-popular Pixelated. I've played this quintessential strategy puzzler since its release, and it fits the bill perfectly.

Xploding Boxes for BlackBerry

Gameplay

XB looks deceptively simple to play. Click or touch a red box, and it explodes into 4 "bullets" traveling up, down, left, and right. When a bullet hits another red box, it also explodes into 4 bullets, setting off a chain reaction and (ideally) clearing the screen of boxes.

Xploding Boxes BlackBerry

 

Each level will allow a certain number of clicks. If you clear the screen within the allowed number of clicks, you win and move on to the next level. If not, you fail and must replay the level.

Xploding Boxes BlackBerry

Xploding Boxes BlackBerry

Xploding Boxes BlackBerry

Simple, right? Riiiiiiight.

As you progress through the game, new elements are added to make the game more complex. Purple boxes require 2 "hits" to explode. The first hit turns them red, the second makes them explode. Blue boxes require 3 hits, and so on.

Xploding Boxes BlackBerry

 

I'll let it go at that, lest I rob you of your forthcoming horrified reactions as you unlock more challenging elements in future levels.

You can quit XB anytime and pick up right where you left off. The only caveat to this is actually forcing yourself to stop playing, because you won't want to. You'll find yourself muttering, over and over, the mantra "Just one more level, just one more level..."

Xploding Boxes BlackBerry

 

Quibbles

Every game has its drawbacks, but XB only has few that I can see. The selection square on the main menu (apparently present only on non-touch devices) is VERY light and difficult to see. On my 9700, I had to squint a lot to see it.

Another downside is that game progress is lost if the game is uninstalled, or if you reload your OS. Hopefully the developer will address this in future updates. At least playing through all the levels again isn't pure drudgery as you struggle to remember how you beat a particularly tough level in the past. Update From the developer: You can back up and re-load your in game progress by back up and restore option in BlackBerry Desktop Manager

The graphics in this game are very plain. I'm listing this as a con only because people will inevitably compare XB to other "prettier" games, both on BB and other platforms. Personally, I think the simple graphics keep the app small, light, and more accessible to a wide range of devices. Making it pretty won't enhance the gameplay that much, but to some people, looks matter.

Technical

At just 236K, it's light enough for older devices where app storage real-estate is precious. The game does not stay resident in memory when you're not playing. It's also graphically modest, so it won't push your processor too hard.

Device Support

From the XB site:

"Xploding Boxes requires a minimum OS of 5.0 and supports the 8520, 8530, 8900, 9300, 9330, 9500, 9520, 9530, 9550, 9630, 9650, 9700, 9780, and 9800. Gaining access to all levels requires that you have version 2.1 or higher of BlackBerry AppWorld installed in order to make use of the in-application payment API." Recent updates also extend support to all OS7 devices. Screenshots were taken on my Bold 9900 running OS 7.0.0.353.

Value

At release, XB offered 50 levels, and regular *free* upgrade releases have expanded the game to a whopping 215. The first 25 levels are free, and the rest will run you just $2.99, a completely reasonable price for a challenging game with excellent replay value. I'm sure most of us have have paid more for games we're no longer playing. I know I have. I've played through the game a few times start to finish, because with so many levels, it's tough to remember solutions to them all.

Pros

  • Small memory footprint
  • Engaging gameplay
  • Lots of levels
  • Replay value
  • Free upgrades (so far)
  • Wide range of device support, including touch and non-touch


Cons

  • Selection square is hard to see on level selection menu
  • Game progress is not saved through device wipes or OS upgrades From the developer: You can back up and re-load your in game progress by back up and restore option in BlackBerry Desktop Manager
  • Simple graphics (a con to some)

Conclusion

If you're a strategy/puzzle game fan, and you're looking for a game to fill those short gaps in your hectic day, add Xploding Boxes to your quiver. Explosions=good. You will aso want to try Pixelated, if you haven't already.

More information/download of Xploding Boxes

This review composed entirely on my BlackBerry 9900 using Documents To Go.

Reader comments

Review: Xploding Boxes for BlackBerry

17 Comments

Developer of Xploding Boxes:

You can back up and re-load your in game progress by back up and restore option in BlackBerry Desktop Manager

A very clear, complete, and concise write-up Tim!
Gonna check it out just because of this blog post!
Great Work! :)

Hey there, Ebscer! I very rarely use DM except to do OS reloads, so I never saw that option! I see it now, thank you! And thanks for a great game. I love it. I'll get someone to edit the post.

Thanks, all!

I love this game. I have owned if for a while now. I love how they update more levels pretty often. I'm stuck on levels 167, 176, 194, 201, 209 right now so I can't go further. Also one con I have noticed and maybe it is just me not know how to do it, there needs to be a better scolling thru the levels.

Ebscer,

I have been meaning to write you for a while with some suggestions to my favorite BB game. Since this review is here, I will simply post my suggestions here. Hopefully some or all can be implemented in future releases (not even sure some are possible, but I will list them anyway).

Thank you for making such a wonderful game.

1) On touchscreen devices with a trackpad, allow the option of either using touchscreen or trackpad.

2) Provide some sort of bonus for finishing a level with fewer than the permitted number of clicks/touches (not sure what this bonus would be since there is no score, but just a thought).

3) Sync levels between PlayBook and BB (again, not sure if this is possible - just a thought).

4) Fewer one-click levels as the game progresses since these are just a matter of trial and error. Three or more click levels are the most difficult, and most entertaining.

5) Speed option - perhaps a setting for how fast the boxes explode and bullets fly - makes for quicker game play when you are frustrated on a particular level.

6) Setting to have game restart on last incomplete level - saves you from scrolling down to find where you left off.

That's it for now. Will post again if I think of more. :-)

Thanks for the feedback. Some thoughts on these suggestions.

1)This will not be added. The game is designed for a touchscreen, and only makes use of the trackpad when there is no other choice.

2)We want to do this, but as you noticed it is hard to come up with what the bonus would be.

3)Would love to do this, but there is currently no good way to go about it.

4)I think you will find this to (mostly) be the case

5)Some of the older OS5 devices are not capable of going any faster, but this may be an idea worth pursuing.

6)Working on this. It may not be in the next update, but it will be implemented eventually.

Thanks for the responses. Looking forward to it.

Oh, and if you ever figure out bonuses, please also consider a bonus for solving levels on the first attempt. :-)

One suggestion...

Significantly improved graphics for os 7 benefits. Make it look as appealing as the gameplay.

I haven't been able to stop playing it, but I hate having to look at it.

I wish you all the best.

I have XB on my BB bold 9900, and had purchased an upgrade. I recent bought a playbook and installed XB on it as well, but when I got to level 26 that says it requires an upgrade and try and purchase it I get payment error message and Error Id 30242.

I really like playing it on my playbook can anyone tell me how I can get the higher levels on it.

Thanks
Brat717