Blocked Review

Joel Rosenberg’s Blocked is currently the #2 paid game on the App Store (behind iDracula), and we can see why. It’s functional, dirt cheap, and it has 100 smartly designed sliding block puzzles to work through. But it’s also missing a way to measure your skill, and that’s sure to turn some players off.

The sliding block puzzle is one of the oldest, and best, tricks in the puzzle game book. The idea is to slide tightly interlocked blocks (some vertically oriented, some horizontal) back and forth across a square level, freeing up a path to help a target block escape.

This game mechanic has appeared in many guises over the years, ranging from parking lots and traffic jams to plates of pasta. Blocked’s no-frills approach works just as well. The puzzles are laid out on a crinkled sheet of graph paper, with nice charcoal-sketched blocks. The touch controls are responsive, and you can play your own tunes. You get five sets of 20 levels each, ranging in difficulty from very easy to very tough, and you have to completely beat a set to unlock the next. You’re allowed to skip around within a set, though.

Sounds good, right? It is. But unlike practically every other game in this genre, Blocked doesn’t track how many moves it takes you to complete a puzzle, or how long–either to tell you that you could be doing it more efficiently, or to compare you against other players. We’re sure that some won’t care about this at all, but we feel it’s a big oversight.

So, we can’t fully recommend Blocked, even though it’s solid in every other respect. If those missing features don’t matter to you, go ahead and download it–it’s 99 cents well spent. Otherwise, we suggest waiting for an update.

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