Brick People is a game about tiny men whose mouths are stopped up with Lego-like bricks, but are nevertheless cursed with an insatiable appetite. It sounds like the beginnings of a “Twilight Zone” episode, but there’s really nothing more to the story. In fact, Brick People is a pretty hollow, tasteless offering, and despite it being a classic arcade offering from Sega, it’s just not a lot of fun to play.
Brick People is broken up into several single-screen levels that are dotted with airborne fruits. The “Brick People,” little men who wander around the bottom of the screen, desperately want to eat all that yummy fruit– but they can’t fly. Therefore, you must use the blocks stacked at the sides of the game screen to build little towers and staircases for your hungry friends, so they can reach the fruit and feast.
Stack ’em if you’ve got ’em.
A timer ticks down the seconds at the top of the screen, and it doesn’t reset in between levels. You need to advance through as many levels as possible before time runs out. You can earn yourself a few extra seconds by playing a bonus game that requires you to fill in a shape with blocks, but otherwise, you’re ranked on your performance, and then it’s Game Over.
Brick People is a simple game, and at first blush it presents itself as a decent arcade-style time-waster. But the longer you play, the faster your frustration starts to build. Doing well at Brick People doesn’t require any kind of strategy so much as it just asks you to fling blocks on the playing field as quickly as possible. Worse, the Brick Men you’re supposed to be feeding move with agonizing slowness, and are as intelligent as the Lego bricks that form their world.
Please feed the wildlife.
No matter how accessible you make your towers, no matter how simply you build them, your Brick People will often walk in the opposite direction, or, worse, walk up to a piece of fruit and turn around before eating it. Given that you’re graded according to how quickly you can get through the game, this is an understandably infuriating phenomenon.
It’s a shame, because aesthetically, Brick People is cute and silly, and boasts an increasingly rare, unique flavor that can only be exported from Japan. Moreover, the multiplayer options in Brick People are a bit more fun and challenging than the main game. Both players need to collect more fruit than the other, but you can hobble your opponent with random powers that are doled out at the start of a match.
Brick People means well, but it’s just not fun to play for more than five minutes. The App Store isn’t hurting for fun arcade games, so unless you’re a hardcore fan of Sega’s arcade scene, let the little guys starve.