First Impressions: G.G. Series Black × Block
Posted by Sean Aaron
For fans of mind-bending only
Most of the G.G. Series previewed to-date have been pretty accessible puzzlers or arcade style games from various genres, but here's the first one that's probably only going to be a hit with a small audience due to the nature and level of the challenge on offer.
The gameplay is essentially similar to Toki Tori and freeware Flash games: you control a small stick man who must move blocks around to reach a level exit within a fixed time limit (usually 90 seconds) and three lives. You control left and right movement with the D-Pad and use a button press to grab movable blocks (indicated by colour) and then use another button to rotate them before placing them down again, with the only restriction being that you cannot place a block in the same space occupied by another block.
Your main obstacles are getting crushed by blocks (be careful about removing blocks supporting other blocks) and red blocks which will kill your stick man if he attempts to climb or run across them. If you get stuck you can press a button to give up (at the cost of a life) and reset the level, which is quite likely given that most, if not all of the levels are laid out such that you can easily put yourself into a situation you cannot get out of.
Unlike Toki Tori the only tools at your disposal are a handful of movable blocks on the screen and your own brain. Whilst there are three difficulty levels to choose from, even on Easy it becomes quite challenging at the third stage and if you find yourself unable to figure out how to progress then that's the end for you. Your best score for each difficulty will be recorded, but without the ability to go back to the last stage you got stuck at directly, you'd have to be a pretty dedicated fan to want to replay all the preceding stages every time you wanted another go at beating it.
Of all the G.G. Series games we've played this has been the first miss for us, but it's technically executed very well and we expect that fans of real brain-bending mechanical puzzles of this nature will really enjoy it. As part of a larger collection (as of this writing G.G. Series Collection Plus is getting a retail release next month in Japan) it's certainly worthwhile, but on it's own the audience will be limited.