Boom Box Bash Party

Publisher: EA

MSRP: $39.99

Despite the huge popularity of video games, it’s not very often that developers stray from ideas that have been successful in the past. Especially if you've got a Wii, a platform for which a significant number of games are TV or movie tie-ins, ports, or remakes. The original Boom Blox showed that great things can happen when you get creative, and Boom Blox Bash Party is a sequel that adds to the excitement in every way imaginable.

Boom Blox is a series that simply couldn’t exist without the Wii, but the premise is fairly simplistic. You are presented with a structure made of blocks, which you must either knock down as quickly as possible or keep standing as long as possible. This is accomplished by using the remote to mimic realistic motions that are affected by real-time physics, so you’ll have to carefully consider all the consequences of your actions.

For the Jenga-esque modes, there is a tower built by blocks of multiple colors. Each turn you will be randomly assigned a color to pull. The key is to find a piece that will come out easily without disturbing the balance of the tower. Fortunately, the camera can be adjusted at any time to help you find the perfect angle. To remove a piece of the corresponding color, you move the remote as if you were pulling it out of a real tower in front of you.

Another mode has you toppling the structures by assaulting them with a ball. This time you are assigned to one color to aim at for the duration of the game, and whoever knocks all their blocks off first wins. To throw, you point where you want the ball to make contact and then swing the remote. There’s surprisingly a lot of strategy involved here since you want to avoid hitting other players’ blocks on your turn.

In addition to competitive multiplayer, there is also a co-op mode with its own unique levels. They are specially designed so that team work is essential. For example, some have structures built on teetering bases, so both players must work together to remove blocks at the same time and keep the structure balanced. You’re guaranteed to spend hours with friends trying to get the best score possible on these cunningly arranged levels.

Completing levels earns you Boom Bux, and the better you do the more you get. Additional content can be unlocked either by beating levels or by purchasing it with Boom Bux. Some levels are ridiculously difficult, and you may find yourself trying over and over to finish them to no avail. Bux keep you from getting stuck, so once you try a few times you can buy your way into the next level to move on.

There is also a very in-depth level creator at your disposal. As if the 400-plus levels included on the disc aren’t enough, you can create and upload your own levels online. In addition, other players’ creations can be played, rated, and even downloaded to your console. EA will periodically be adding its own levels as well. With this much available online, the potential for replayability is massive.

Boom Blox Bash Party is one of those rare sequels that surpasses its predecessor. Even owners of the first game have plenty to look forward to since there are all new levels, modes, and blocks to enjoy. The controls are intuitive, the levels are clever, and it’s a blast to play solo or with a crowd. It’s a game that belongs in every Wii owner’s collection.

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