Despite the obvious bad press that surrounds the pastime of blowing things up for no good reason, there’s no denying that it’s jolly good fun to view the slow and deliberate act of demolition.
It’s this rather worrying appeal that Blow Up feeds on, calling on the player to attach explosive charges to various structures in order to bring the rubble down to a predetermined target height.
Orchestrating the action in Blow Up is a relatively straightforward affair; you drag-and-drop finite bundles of TNT, sticking them to weak points on the structure. The charges are equipped with time delay switches, and a quick double-tap allows you to select how many seconds should elapse before it goes boom.
Once you’re happy with the arrangement you press the big red button, which then causes the charges to explode. It’s at this point that you learn if your predictions were correct – if your placement was perfect then the building will gracefully collapse and the debris will fall below the goal height.
If you got it wrong then the structure will remain firmly in place, and you’ll have to start over again. Thankfully, the game retains the previous placement of charges, so you can tinker with your setup until everything comes tumbling down as it should do, rather than having to re-plant every single stick of dynamite.
To make things more interesting, perched atop the various buildings you’re tasked with destroying is a cute-looking panda, and should you engineer a situation where this furry fellow makes contact with a glowing star – located somewhere within the building – then you’ll earn bonus points.
When you throw in variables such as kegs of explosives (if anything touches these then it’s automatic game over), indestructible metal girders and slightly larger TNT bundles (handy for taking out double-packed foundations) Blow Up becomes incredibly complicated.
In fact the difficulty curve ramps up very early on; some of the levels require pin-point accuracy when it comes to the placement of your explosive charges, and you’ll also have to become accustomed to delicately staggering the charges using the time delay system.
In fact it’s probably a little too demanding; because the margin for error is massive and you’ll often find yourself repeatedly attempting a level and only finding the sweet spot with trial and error. This intense degree of challenge is what makes Blow Up so appealing, but it also robs it of the “pick up and play” fun that makes titles like Angry Birds so popular.
Many will be dissuaded by the lack of instant gratification, but we would imagine that just as many will be pleased that there’s finally a puzzle title that engages your brain as well as your digits.
Blow Up certainly isn’t going to have the same broad appeal as titles like Doodle Jump and the aforementioned Angry Birds, but its appealing visuals and deep, arresting gameplay should still find favour with a significant portion of the people who take the chance on downloading it.