Review: Blockout (Sega Genesis)

In this review, we drop our entertainment down the well in the Sega Genesis game Blockout. We find out if this puzzle game is worth playing.

This game was released in 1991.

One way to think of this game is as a top down version of Tetris. It is a 3D version of the game.

You have two options – starting the game or going into options which modifies your game preferences.

If you start right away, you’ll get a basic well with flat pieces (the only really workable piece set in the game, really). Like the original Tetris, the goal is to make lines, only in this game, you are creating complete layers. If you fill the bottom of the well with blocks, you’ll clear that layer and everything on top of it will fall downward one layer.

If you miss a single block somewhere along the line in that layer, there is a good possibility you’ll have to resort to filling in the next layer. Should you complete the next layer up, you’ll have a very good chance at unveiling what yo missed in the bottom layer.

Just like the original Tetris game, if you fill your well up completely, it’ll be game over for you.

In the options menu, there are a couple of additional styles of play available. There is the original flat level that is set by default. Adding to this are three other versions. There is 3D Crazy which has a very narrow well, but more 3D pieces. An additional mode is Out of Control. That contains the more difficult to use pieces and has an average well size. The final mode is custom mode. In that mode, you can adjust the well size and piece set.

One strategy for this game is to keep things simple. Lay out your pieces flatly on the bottom of the well. That way, there is no guessing where the holes are because you can’t see them very well in this game. Just keep filling out the bottom layer as many times as possible until the pieces become too fast to handle. There’s really no use in trying to get multiple layers because it just over-complicates an already over-complicated game.

Generally speaking, this game is a weird one to review. One of the big reasons is because it somehow manages to be both a very short game and a very drawn out one at the same time. The reason it is short is because it only takes an hour or so to play through all of the modes. At the same time, it is drawn out because it takes a very long time to either fill a layer or it takes a very long time to find out you’ve made a mistake.

Another big problem this game faces is a distinct lack of features. There are a couple of additional customization’s, but once you get past those, there is nothing left in this game to really enjoy.

Additionally, this game is a pretty dull affair. When you play with the pieces in the well, there’s not a whole lot of excitement to be had. You either succeed in making layers or you don’t. That’s all there is to this game.

To make matters worse, the controls just don’t work that well. Sometimes, you go to move a piece and it doesn’t move. Other times, you try and move a piece once and it moves twice. The same applies to the three ways you can rotate the pieces. There’s something extremely buggy about the game. While it may not seem like a big deal early on, when pieces begin to fall faster, this becomes much more problematic and a misread on the games part can very easily cost you a game.

One thing this game seems to show is that Tetris in the third dimension is not workable. Tetrisphere proves otherwise, but when some people play this game, it may seem that Tetris can never make the leap to the next dimension.

Probably the only thing that this game has going for it is the fact that it is a fairly novel game. You don’t get very many games out there released in the same time period that play like this. This makes the game seem intriguing at first, but once you actually play it, you realize that maybe it isn’t such a brilliant idea after all.

Generally speaking, this game has a long list of reasons to complain about. It is short. The game then manages to also be very drawn out. The features are very lack-luster. Playing this game can be very dull at times. Though it is a fairly unique game, it just didn’t pan out very well.

Graphics aren’t that great in this game. The colors do help in identifying the layers in an otherwise hard to read game. Still, even though it is a 3D game, the graphics are very plain. The menu’s are alright, but the colors can be rather muted. If it weren’t for the colors helping gameplay, I would have said the graphics are a flop in this one.

The audio is yet another sore spot for this game. There are a few jingles in the game itself, but hardly nothing. Though the tone increases as you are rotating pieces further and further down the well, that’s all you get in the levels themselves. No music actually plays during the levels. This game definitely flops in this area.

Overall, this game leaves quite a bit to be desired. The gameplay is both short and drawn out. Features are virtually non-existent in this game. Gameplay itself is a rather dull affair after a while. Once you get past the novelty aspect of this game, you quickly see that there is hardly anything this game has to offer. To add insult to injury, controls are also rather buggy. Graphics are barely passable thanks to the coloring scheme of the layers. Otherwise, this game has little to offer. Audio is virtually non-existent. A game to pass on.

High score: 23,537

General gameplay: 11/25
Replay value: 4/10
Graphics: 5/10
Audio: 1/5

Overall rating: 42%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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