Sunday, May 13, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 6: Pit Blocks 3D

Pit Blocks 3D: Shameless Tetris Clone or The Future of The Blockbusting Genre? Review By Steve T.


Tetris. One word two syllables, but over 3 decades of accolades and brand power. I like many of my peers grew up with a gameboy and that iconic copy of Tetris. I can't even begin to tell you how many hours were spent lying around, matching block by block and lining row by row. The game's one of the most recognizable I.P's in the world. When someone says Tetris you know exactly what they're talking about. Though today I'm not here to boast on the title, nope. I'm taking a look at SRM Game's latest indie outing Pit Blocks 3D. The game's development started just three short months ago, and while the game's still in development, they were kind enough to provide me with a playable demo. So how does it hold up? Is it that shameless tetris clone I was referring to? Well let's find out.

So the first thing to take note of is the presentation and I'll be the first to say that I really like the visual style. It's another one of those softly shaded games that feature a sharp filter on objects and models. I also certainly noticed a decent amount anti aliasing on the blocks themselves, but that could be an engine preset rather than intent. So to make a long story short, yes the game's pretty. It displays nicely on my HD monitor, the colors pop and It's pretty obvious that a majority of the budget went into a clean presentation. But high graphical fidelity mean nothing if the game controls terribly, and I can honestly say that the game in fact handles quite well. So on to probably the most important question . . . "Is this really different from tetris!?" Well yes and no.

The basic premise of Tetris is still present, mix and match blocks so they disappear off the game board. The only thing that really changes is the 3D perspective, which in its own right, completely changes everything. When presented with the game board your job is to drop the blocks and maneuver them in such a way that the each row/floor is cleared when it becomes completely filled. It seems simple on paper, but man is that difficult in a 3d space. When you move the simple Tetris formula to 3d, you've got a million more things to worry about. You have to 3 axis instead of two, so you have to twist the block rotate it, move it here and move it there. 

I spent about an hour playing through the demo, trying to find the best ways to clear out floors, employing all my strategic abilities, and in all my time, I think I cleared about five or so floors. This game in its current form isn't all that easy, but that's okay. An easy game doesn't mean a better game. But be warned!!

This can all seem daunting at first and I was pretty overwhelmed. The game tries it's best to walk you through it's inner workings and that I can appreciate. The tutorials are pretty intuitive, but the grunt work is still the same. The task becomes so frustrating at times that one can only wonder if Tetris can truly work in three dimensions. But despair not! The music in this game is super catchy and lively. For those who dig that awesome retro sound, you'll love this game's OST.

So that's about all I can say about the game. The demo was only a level long, and showed off just one environment. But SRM Games has made me aware that they will be adding more levels and varied environments as development continues. So that's nice and all, but the game does have one obvious attribute that will either help or hurt it . . . It's tetris in 3D. I brought up the question earlier as to whether or not the tetris formula works in 3D and I honestly believe it does, just probably not on PC. The game's controls are as good as they can get for what you have to do, but I feel that some simple controller support would really help out with this. It's so awkward to have to be constantly shifting the landscape around, doing all this geometry in your head, hoping you'll at least clear something.

So in conclusion, the game is remarkably solid. It has a few problems with making the transition from a 2d concept to a 3d one, but I feel with proper optimization that this can be fixed . . .  So does this game hold the right to be crowned the true Tetris successor? Absolutely not, not even close, no way in the world . . . But that's not the point. The tagline for this game is 'This is not Tetris! It's Pit Blocks 3D'. And they're right, the game's not tetris, even though it looks and at times almost plays like it. It's still Pit Blocks 3D, it's own thing in this endless realm of Video entertainment. I think it will be an excellent game when it launches on first. We at Shock Site give this game 5 out of 5 stars.



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