Another entry in the G.G series has arrived, and anybody who's owned a TI series calculator and spent a lengthy amount of time in a high school math class will immediately feel at home with the type of gameplay here. Indeed, the premise of G.G Series BLACK X BLOCK feels like a successor of sorts to the cult classic, Block Dude, and it executes that simple concept of block based puzzle platforming very well. While the difficulty of many of the later stages may put some people off, G.G Series BLACK X BLOCK is a simple and enjoyable puzzle platformer that represents one of the high points of the G.G series.
The premise sees players take control of a small stick man who must navigate his way across a large 2D grid and find a door in each stage. Along the way, collections of blocks both obstruct and assist progress; it's up to the player to decide how to position the blocks in such a way that the stick man will be able to reach his goal. The basic, clean aesthetic look of G.G Series BLACK X BLOCK helps keep things orderly and neat, while the quirky techno track in the background establishes a nice pace to things.
There are three different game modes to choose from with Easy, Normal and Hard, but the only real difference between them is varying block placement. It would've been nice if more hazards or block types existed to help make stages more diverse and unique, but perhaps that would go against the simplistic theme of the overall game. If there's one complaint to be made, it's that difficulty goes from zero to sixty quite fast; a more gentle difficulty curve would've been appreciated. That being said, puzzles are very well laid out and that "Aha!" moment when the player discovers the one crucial detail that was preventing success makes each stage a rewarding endeavour.
Gameplay progresses in a typical level by level approach. The stick man can't climb blocks that are taller than he is, but he can carry and rotate one block - of any size - at a time. Blocks are subject to gravity as well, meaning that the player needs to think before grabbing a block that may be supporting another above him. If the player is duped or stuck, a tap of the reset button will cost one life and reset the puzzle. Score is calculated by how much time is left on the clock on the side of the screen and a bonus is given if a stage can be cleared in the challenge time. Controls are responsive, though it would be nice if there was a rewind button a la Pushmo. We ran into many instances where making one mistake rendered the puzzle unsolvable and required another full runthrough just to get back to the same point.
Overall, G.G Series BLACK X BLOCK is an excellent puzzle platformer that'll keep gamers entertained for a long time. While there are some minor issues with difficulty and occasionally unforgiving gameplay, the majority of the experience will offer gamers an enjoyable challenge that'll require them to think outside the box. As such, we'd recommend you pick this one up - you won't find many other games of this quality for such a low price.