Jelly Blocks: First Sip- Indie Game Review

Listen to this article

Jelly Blocks, brought to you by Creative Cog Games, is a physics based match-3 puzzle game.

Story

In a world overrun by gigantic gelatinous blocks, only one man can stand up to their jiggly tyranny, you are Max Blocksmasher, a humble unassuming janitor that was caught up in an experiment gone wrong, a simple genetic test that turned a scientists jelly sandwiches into yeastless slabs of quivering fury gave Max the uncanny ability to manipulate the movements of the gargantuan squishies, however it is the love of a good woman that gives him the courage to use these powers to save his girl and the world, when his path is blocked by gooey blocks, Max will clear a path to his destiny….actually Jelly Blocks has no story to speak of, you just match the cubes to clear the screen, much like Tetris.

Max Blocksmasher (as drawn by Chris because he's not a real character)
Max Blocksmasher (as drawn by Chris because he’s not a real character)

Graphics

The graphics in Jelly Blocks, are pretty simplistic, you have the blocks, in seven or so colors, they also come with their own symbols, i.e. squares, large empty circle, two small full circles etc. as another way to differentiate them, the backgrounds are soft, muted colors, that act as a sort of serene backdrop, however you’ll mostly be focused on the blocks, the squishy jelly nature of the blocks as they bounce around and settle into place, is also quite visually appealing, over all, the stripped back, basic look of the game has paid off, balancing the zen like relaxation aspect with the high tension of the board almost filling up.

Twist and shout

Sound

The sound effects in Jelly Blocks are kind of what you’d expect, some goopy sounding blips and waves, fairly typical for the genre, and they are pleasant, which is great, because there is nothing worse than a jarring sound effect that you have to listen to eight hundred times while you play, the soundtrack also contains the same kind of chilled out vibes, there are a few different tracks that play, and they loop, so once you have played enough, you’ll hear start to hear the same songs come back again, I didn’t have any problems with this because I liked all the songs and felt that they fit well with the style of the game, but I could imagine that variety might be more key when playing a marathon, high score run.

Gameplay

If you’ve played Tetris, then think Tetris…but with less blocks (Jelly blocks come down as three squares, unlike the four square Tetris ones), less pieces, (again due to the three block pieces, you really just have straight line and elbow pieces), and you only need to connect three instead of a full line, plus they have to be the same color/symbol….actually the game is less like Tetris and more like Dr. Mario or Puyo Puyo.

So why not just play one of those instead? They have the same mechanic of matching three pieces to score points but both Dr. Mario and Puyo Puyo have vs. modes, well Jelly Blocks has a gimmick unlike the other games, Physics.

The Physics in Jelly Blocks is what sets it apart from the other games, instead of just twisting your pieces in four different directions, and moving them left and right as they drop down, the Jelly Blocks can be gradually twisted so you can move them in on an angle and hit blocks you wouldn’t normally be able to reach, the block can also effect resting blocks so if you angle it right you can dig up a block you need or bounce something you want over to a better location, once the blocks get buried for a while though they become harder to move, and some older blocks will eventually come together but remain on the screen instead of converting to points, to remedy this you can either slam a new block into it by clearing those on top, or by combining a few sets within a set time you can “unfreeze” the blocks, this changes the colors (but not the symbols as it’s just an aesthetic change) and reactivates the physics on the rest of the blocks, collecting any buried sets and making the rest of the blocks able to move more freely for a short time.

Another mechanic of the game that I found quite fun, is that when you match three of the color, they flash for a moment before being collected, during this moment if you can get any more of the same type of block to hit any of the flashing blocks (regardless of whether the original blocks are still touching or not) it will add them to the combo.

Overall

Overall, when I booted up Jelly Blocks and started playing, I thought I knew exactly what it was going to be in the first minute, it seemed cute, but basic and with only two game modes, Zen and Challenge, I thought I’d play for a little while, get the feel for it and then move on to the next game to review, but the more I played, the better I got, getting more used to the controls and picking up new tricks on how to match the blocks up, and I lost count of how many satisfying combos I managed to rack up, some were the beautiful culmination of all my plans, others were pure strokes of luck, but they all felt great and kept me playing, Jelly Blocks is ultimately something I can see myself chilling out with in the future, especially as the developer (Programming and Design by Michael Apfelbeck) has stated that new game modes are planned.

In Coffee Terms

In coffee terms, Jelly Blocks is like a seemingly standard cup of coffee, at first taste it’s nice but deceptively bland, but when you’ve had what you think is a few sips, you look down and suddenly realise that the pot is empty and it’s somehow already nighttime, an addictive little treat that promises more to offer in the near future.

Jelly Links:

-Website: https://jellyblocksgame.com/

-Gameplay Trailer: https://youtu.be/rweFiFt-ZjQ

-Buy on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1048850/Jelly_Blocks/

Check out Chris’s other Articles: https://sipreadrepeat.com/author/chris-z/

Leave a Reply