Blast-A-Way, a physics-based 3D puzzler from Illusion Labs, is now available from the app store. Featuring stylish art design, deviously clever puzzles, and ultra-cute characters, Blast-A-Way is a fantastic new addition to your casual puzzle collection.
- Beautiful art design and deviously clever puzzles
- Soundtrack is upbeat and cheery
- Tap and drag controls are responsive and easy to use
- Multiple bomb types and environmental elements to use to solve puzzles
- GameCenter integration for achievements
- Limited replay value
- Controls can be a bit difficult to manage at times
Blast-A-Way contains 80 levels spread across 5 different worlds, each comprising puzzles featuring a unique construction material (wood, metal, fabric, stone, and plastic). The goal of each level is to rescue the three tiny box-like characters, known as Boxies, before heading for the checkered goal space. There are three main robot characters to control, and several levels will feature more than one of these characters within the same puzzle. Each of the robots is capable of picking up and using the various bombs scattered throughout the levels, which are necessary to free Boxies encapsulated in environmental objects, destroy barriers, teleport to distant locations, and more. A few different bomb types are at your disposal, including impact bombs that blow up on contact, sticky bombs that adhere to anything they touch, sponge bombs that absorb the color of any block that it hits, rebuilders that reverse the destruction process, teleporters that move you from place to place, and colorizers that turn blocks the same color as the bomb. There are also color gates that change the color of any bombs passing through them and portals that send matching-color bombs to the corresponding portal.
The bombs only interact with blocks of a matching color, so tossing a blue impact bomb at an orange block will have no effect, except to push nearby ground characters away if they are too close to the blast zone. Characters that fall off of the platforms will be lost. Tossing the bombs requires you to hold your finger on a selected target, which will initiate an angle gauge. Releasing your finger will release the bomb, allowing you to enjoy the results of your decision. In many cases, you’ll need to bank bombs off of objects, which requires attention to your robot’s positioning to accomplish your task. Early puzzles are quite simple and provide little to no challenge, though the difficulty ramps up nicely before too long.
The art style is slick and polished, with the various colored blocks exploding into satisfying showers of shards when destroyed. Puzzles usually entail multiple portions that require careful planning in order to maneuver effectively between without cutting off your return avenue accidentally. There is no timer and no points to earn, giving the game a purely casual feel that simply allows you to enjoy discovering a solution to each puzzle. Unlocking new worlds requires you to save a targeted number of Boxies, though snagging all three shouldn’t be too difficult on most levels. The soundtrack is cheery and upbeat, and the sound effects add to the enjoyment of the game. Controls are tap- or drag-based, allowing you to pan the gaming area by dragging upon any of the blocks. Rotating your viewpoint is accomplished by dragging outside of the gaming area. Switching between robots requires a simple tap on the desired automaton, and centering on a certain block utilizes the same quick tap mechanic. Dragging from any robot to another spot will create a dotted line that the robot will follow, and you can use a 2-finger swipe to gain elevation for a more isometric view.
Replay value is fairly low, given the lack of comparable data. The main reason to replay the game is pick up any missed Boxies or simply to enjoy the experience all over again. There is GameCenter integration for earning a small number of achievements, most of which are related to unlocking new worlds. A universal app for $4.99, Blast-A-Way is a great 4.5-Dimple offering.