Sometimes the simplest things work best and this is something that Bloq fully embraces. With so many puzzle titles available on the market it can be difficult to stand out, but making something that is more over the top and elaborate doesn’t always work. Bloq requires you to simply move a colored block into its corresponding square on a board. The block is the only splash of color on an otherwise almost monochromatic board and the task seems almost laughably easy. However, with 40 different levels the challenge steadily increases.
Bloq starts off with only one pink block that has to be maneuvered towards its matching target. The block automatically slides into the direction you swipe and only comes to a stop when it hits an obstacle or the border of the level. While the block is moving you cannot change its direction, which means you have to plan your moves ahead in order to get to your target. This is probably sounding very familiar to players who have travelled through the ice caves in the Pokemon titles, but Bloq takes things a few steps further.
The initial levels serve as a great tutorial to familiarize you with the gameplay mechanics, but soon you are required to move two or even three colored blocks towards their respective targets. Since all the blocks move simultaneously it complicates things quite a bit and extra planning is required to get everything to fall into place. Later levels also introduce other factors, such as special squares to which your blocks stick or even levels without borders where the playing field wraps around the screen. This is definitely not a game that can be judged on looks as it is often the most straightforward looking levels that provide the biggest challenge. Bloq features 40 levels in total of which the first 15 are free to play. You can still access the rest of the levels if you don’t mind ads or unlock everything with a once off payment of $0.99. It didn’t take me very long to complete the free levels, but some of the later ones definitely had me scratching my head!
Bloq uses a very minimalistic approach for the visuals, but the result is quite stylish. Solid blocks are indicated by dark squares, while outlined blocks causes your colored block to stick to them until moved again. Very faint and blurred blocks appear and disappear on the background of each level which prevents the boards from feeling too empty and static. In fact, the game appears to use a blur filter for all the visuals which fits the color palette and style quite nicely.
Bloq is played in portrait orientation and the boards take up most of the screen. At the top of the screen the level number is indicated as well as a “Restart” button. You can also return to the level select screen at any time. Overall I found the visuals and interface to be really good and the minimalistic style works very well.
The audio is very relaxing, but quite limited and the point at which the track loops is a little too noticeable. The music and sound effects can be enabled or disabled independently though, so if one becomes a distraction it can be turned off without turning everything off. Like the music, the sound effects are also very low-key, which is a good match for the game. Since you only have to swipe the screen in a direction to move the blocks the controls are very simple and easy to master. They are also very responsive and I never had any issues moving the blocks.
Like I mentioned earlier there are plenty of puzzle titles available on Android, but Bloq is definitely worth a closer look. The concept is simple enough that anyone can pick up and play the game without needing complicated instructions, but some of the puzzles still left me stumped for quite a while. There are no time limits, power-ups or any other distractions, so you can focus your concentration on solving the puzzles at hand. Since anyone can check out the game for free from the Google Play Store I have no qualms recommending Bloq.