First Impressions: Block Factory (3DS eShop)

Bricking it

Upcoming 3DS eShop title Block Factory — from the makers of Pyramids — is trying to do something a little different with the puzzle genre. Instead of sticking resolutely to one kind of block-dropper, you can create your own take on the genre with its built-in creative tools.

While the game comes with four preset games that ape famous puzzlers like Tetris and Columns, the real interest comes in creating your own puzzle game — with limitations, of course. You choose a theme for the background and blocks, determine which shapes will appear and finally set the rules. Want to score points for connecting nine like-coloured blocks, or building a vertical or horizontal line? It's not just the overriding score conditions you can change: you can alter whether blocks drop more quickly or immediately when you push Down, whether you can swap or turn blocks and if they're affected by gravity or stick rigidly in place.

Creating your own puzzles is straightforward enough but there's little visual feedback during the process: whereas Pullblox makes it clear what your puzzles will look like, and therefore behave, your Block Factory settings are just flags until you click saved. You get a short preview of your game before heading into it, so you know its scoring conditions before you start to play, but when coupled with the five-letter limit on names you might struggle to tell one game from another. A minor gripe — and one that could be easily rectified by the time the game comes out.

Playing your own game is all well and good, but Enjoy Gaming has also included the ability to share your puzzles as QR codes or via StreetPass, which should prove useful for when your inspiration is lacking.

Our time with this Block Factory so far has been enjoyable without really excelling: creating your own falling block puzzles doesn't have the same appeal as making a Pullblox as there's no solution. You're creating variations on a theme — admittedly a hugely popular one — and it remains to be seen how much longevity there is in making multiple falling block puzzles.

Still, if it comes in at the right price Block Factory should still find an audience. While it's unlikely to kill off all other falling block puzzles from hitting the eShop, it'll hopefully have a bit more longevity than your usual match-three effort.