Release Date: February 26, 2015 (US & Canada)
Genre: Puzzle (Match-Three)
Platform: Nintendo Wii U
Steam: Steam Store Page
ESRB Rating: E10+
In May 2013, From Nothing Game Studios became an authorized developer for Wii U(TM). For a few months, we continued to work on something else until we were able to begin work on something for the Wii U. Ultimately, it was decided that our best course of action was to take GravBlocks and upgrade it for the Wii U to familiarize ourselves with the hardware and development. Adding two new members to the team, and losing one, we dove into development with renewed vigor.
As before with the development of the original GravBlocks, we have more in-store for the game than a simple port from Android to Wii U. GravBlocks always felt a little more suited to a console than a mobile device, but we’re determined to deliver the best possible upgrade of the game to benefit both the Wii U and the game itself. With new members, Robert Diaz and Adam Dyson, GravBlocks+ underwent a complete graphical overhaul, a complete engine rebuilding, and new high-definition graphics. Beyond this, the menu has been completely redesigned by Sean and Robert, the game is intended for seamless play on either the Wii U GamePad or on a television.
GravBlocks is both a falling-block puzzle game (like Tetris) and a match-three puzzle game (like Pokemon Puzzle League, Bejeweled), but is also drastically different than either of those titles. The most unique aspect of GravBlocks is the aptly named Gravity Blocks. Aligning three of these blocks facing the same direction will alter gravity to that direction. So if you align three “left arrow” Gravity Blocks, then the gravity will shift to the left side of the screen, and the left wall now becomes the floor, with the opposite wall being the new ceiling where blocks drop in.
In the most basic aspect of the game (and also the original gameplay mode), players change gravity in order to build score multipliers, but must do it carefully! The walls contain hazards, and the higher the difficulty level and the longer the player plays, the more Destruction Hazards there will be to contend with! Dropping blocks into these Hazards resets the score Multiplier.
In order to survive this ordeal, players use Wild Blocks to temporarily close all the Hazards (for about 12 seconds) so that they can change gravity safely. There are also Bomb Blocks which will destroy all of one (or more, if you’re really clever) block type onscreen at once.
With this simple concept, GravBlocks+ for Wii U has five gameplay modes:
- Challenge — Classic-style puzzle game, blocks fall in, and players play for a high score. Newly configured for Wii U, the levels advance faster, but the game can be played well past Level 30 with more balanced gameplay.
- Destruction — The opposite of Challenge, here players are challenged to destroy blocks and clearing the screen. In this mode, Wild blocks open a whole wall of Destruction Hazards.
- Zen — Like Challenge, but the difficulty never increases.
- Puzzle — 150 levels where players are given a set of blocks that must be cleared with only a few moves–the first 40 are cleared with only one move!
- Story — The brand-new Story mode pits players against five jerk aliens in an alien abduction scenario! Having reached the limits of what “traditional probing” can teach them, they now test abductees with GravBlocks. Story Mode offers a brand new way to play the game as each level requires players to clear specific tasks to move on. Be careful, though, what starts out as deceptively easy soon grows to be one of the most challenging puzzle games ever made!
We at From Nothing Game Studios believe in giving the gamer more bang for their buck, as it were. So GravBlocks is no simple or lazy port of the previous Android version of the game. We have redesigned, rebuilt, or otherwise overhauled every aspect of GravBlocks for the Wii U, so that “+” at the end of the logo carries a lot of meaning for us! Nintendo fans have, for too long, had to deal with lazy ports and inferior versions of multi-platform games, but as we did with match-three puzzle games, we’re bucking this trend as well to deliver the best possible experience we can for the Wii U.
Wii U exclusive updates and features:
- Eight different block graphics to choose from.
- All block designs now have animating specialty blocks (Gravity, Wild, and Bomb blocks).
- High-definition graphics, and all blocks have shapes as well as colors so as to be color-blind friendly.
- New graphics and backgrounds for the Story Mode.
- 15 Backgrounds and 8 reticle colors.
- Completely redesigned “Geometric” background designs.
- Several more unlockables, one earned with every 5th Accomplishment unlocked.
- 80 Accomplishments.
- 90 challenging Story Mode levels.
- 50 more ultra-challenging Puzzles.
- New notification graphics added for when a Wild Block is active!
- New notification graphics for when you get too close to a Game Over!
- New music supplied by an actual musician!
- On or off-TV gameplay with the Wii U GamePad.
- Beautifully redesigned menu system which is more natural to navigate.
- High scores automatically saved for Challenge and Zen modes!
- One of the best and most detailed e-manuals on the Wii U, because we’re old school like that.
- Secrets, unlockables, and hidden references throughout the game, including references to the Konami code and a puzzle inspired by the Monado from a certain Nintendo game.
- Traditional button-based or touch-screen gameplay options.
- Carefully refined planning of the how buttons are used means solid options for touch-screen players or D-Pad players, which sort of hints at the next point:
- Allows button or touch-screen gaming.
- Updated touch-screen gameplay so a block can be moved more than one space at a time.
- Optional left-handed or right-handed screen use.
- Completely rebuilt gameplay engine.
- Checks have been put in place to prevent the risk of an “instant game over” when changing gravity with fuller screens.
- Nintendo eShop exclusive.
Watch the trailer by clicking here.
View the GravBlocks+ gallery by clicking here.
- Operation Rainfall (4/5 Stars)
- Wii U Only (8/10)
- Hardcore Casual Gamer (3.5/5 Stars)
- 8-Worlds News (75%)
- Nintendo Life (6/10)
- eShop Gurus (7/10)
- Press Release article at 3DSPedia.
- Press Release article at Hardcore Casual Gamer.
- Sean and Nick Podcast interview with Hardcore Casual Gamer. Nick apologizes profusely for his terrible, terrible microphone.
- Reveal article at Nintendo Life.
- Reveal article at Nintendo Enthusiast and the inclusion in the 240 Indie Games List.
- Reveal article at CouchJockeyz.
- Reveal article at Pure Nintendo.
- Click here: GravBlocks+_PressPack_1_NoTrailer to download a full zipped Press Kit which includes screenshots, and Press Release.
- Click here: GravBlocks+_Press Release 24 FEB 2015 to download just the Press Release document.
- Click here: GravBlocks+_Wallpapers to download a set of five GravBlocks+ promotional wallpapers.