The original iBlast Moki was one of the earliest (shortly after Rolando) physics-based puzzle game that I played on an iOS platform and it absolutely blew me away. It was like a bit like the incredible machine, but you could actually got to use your fingers to manipulate things yourself! It was fun, original and introduced the iOS landscape to French indie developer Godzilab. I quite literally played through the entire game in almost one sitting (shocking the devs), just because I was so captivated by it. Well it took 11 months, but Godzilab finally revisited their debut franchise and at last we have gotten a worthy and equally as entertaining sequel…iBlast Moki 2. It’s all about timing and getting things to blow up, bounce or roll at just the right moment to set off the perfect chain of events.
iBlast Moki 2 plays pretty much the same as it’s predecessor, but with a number of new gameplay elements that keep this game fresh instead of just a collection of new levels. My favorite of which are the new Portal 2-like (bounce, stick and slick) paint bombs that would make Cave Johnson proud. If you are unfamiliar with the original game, then I will paraphrase my earlier description here. The premise of the game is simple — get all of your cute little Mokis to the exit magic spiral using one or more of the items provided along with whatever you can find in the environment. In reality, this will require some forethought and ingenuity. The items consist of some combination of bombs, rope, metal bars, balloons and paint. It is your job to MacGyver something together using just the items at hand and your knowledge of gravity and Physics and the Godzilab’s wondrous world around you to save the mokis.
Godzilab has put together a really nice package with some fantastic retina graphics and 90 levels spread across 6 very different worlds, each with their own characteristics to confound and challenge you. Add to that the unlimited number of levels you can create, share and play using the game’s in-app level editor (which was the same tool used to design all of the game’s bundled levels) and you’ve got a ton of entertainment here. The game also includes global leaderboards as well as achievements supported via Game Center and OpenFeint.
One other new element that Godzilab has introduced this time around are some in-app purchases to help players who are struggling with certain levels. First off there is a 99¢ option which will unlock all of the worlds right from the start instead of requiring players to complete entire worlds to unlock others. There is also a system by which you can purchase solutions for any individual level. You see, every time you solve a puzzle that solution is saved to a datatbase and these solutions can be unlocked for viewing in exchange for Moki coins. You earn Moki coins by playing, or they can be purchased in 5-coin packs for 99¢.
This sequel was well worth the wait with engaging gameplay, great sound and captivating visuals. That being said, the game still suffers from some of the same detractors that the iPhone’s small form factor caused for the original. Some iPhone players may find the constant need to zoom in and out a bit of a chore, but once you get used to it, you develop a sort of rhythm. If you played the original iBlast Moki (and you should have because it was FREE for a limited time) then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If bothered you then, it will again. Same goes for the occasional struggle to get pieces to lock together.
I must also point out that I did experience a number of freeze-ups during that last few levels of the water planet, when playing on my iPhone 4, but didn’t see this behavior on the iPad. These issues were not present when I played numerous beta builds of the game, so not sure what is going on there. For those of you planning on playing on multiple devices, there is a somewhat buried means for syncing your “Best Solutions” between devices, but then you still need to step through each one again and hit “play” in order for it to give you your stars and unlock the subsequent levels. Having already completed 66 levels on my iPhone, stepping through each one of these again on the iPad was a bit of a nuisance. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that I didn’t need to actually play through each one again, but I wish syncing was a bit less time consuming and automatic.
Finally, one of the greatest things about the game is that everyone can come up with their own crazy and unique solutions using the same exact set of tools. However this leads to what is perhaps my biggest gripe, which is that I often felt that the scoring for individual levels seemed a bit too arbitrary and calculated based on one particular solution (the original game suffered from this as well). You can quite literally just nudge a bomb the tiniest bit to the left or right and it may make no discernible difference to the time or way you complete the level, but all of a sudden it may earn you an extra 20-30 more points. It is very likely that you will find yourself gently tweaking the same level over and over again just to get the best possible score.
Having helped to beta test iBlast Moki 2 as well, I’ve played through the entire game a number of times now and I was still just as excited to do it again when I picked up the official release yesterday. I think the app’s title really says it all, I had a blast with Moki and I think you will too! Best of all, if you act quickly, Godzilab is having a launch sale where you can get either the iPhone-only version of the game for just 99¢ or the universal app for $2.99. I’d definitely recommend the Universal app, as this was my first Moki experience on the iPad and it is even better on the bigger screen.