There's something to be said about the power of simplicity. Some of the best experiences to be had in gaming are compelling not because of their depth or complexity, but because of how they offer a distilled example of an excellent gameplay concept. Nintendo has seemingly adapted this approach in many of its current generation takes on older game franchises, exchanging innovation for rock solid and relatively stripped back experiences that are made simply to be fun; no more, no less. Blocky Bot is an example of a game that follows this template quite well, opting to deliver a basic yet engaging product.
The premise of Blocky Bot is quite simple. Resembling something rather like the Squid Jump mini game from Splatoon, players must guide Blocky Bot (or one of the dozens of unlockable characters) by jumping up an endless series of platforms to escape a cloud of darkness constantly advancing from the bottom of the screen. Some of the platforms will have an enemy pacing along its width and some will be moving back and forth, throwing in just enough variety to keep things interesting and prevent the gameplay from becoming overly repetitive. It's easy to get into and rather difficult to put down, as the fast paced nature of the gameplay properly nails that "one more try" feeling. If you miss a platform or an enemy gets you, a quick death animation plays and you almost seamlessly start again from the bottom, with a few visible platforms tempting you to come and have another go.
Controls are pleasantly tight and responsive, meaning that the majority of mistakes feel more like the player's fault than the game mechanics, while the frame rate maintains a buttery smooth pace. The blocky, neo-retro visuals make it easy to distinguish obstacles as they're approached and also give the game a chipper and charming atmosphere. All of this is accompanied by an upbeat chiptune track that doesn't get on one's nerves too much, though this being the only track may lead some to hit the mute button after an extended play session. Off-TV play is fully featured here as well, with a simple tap of the minus button toggling between the main TV or the GamePad screen.
Though this is primarily a score based game - with the objective being to see how many platforms can be jumped before death - there's a light replayability element to it. After meeting certain requirements a few level themes can be unlocked that portray the world in a different style, such as a theme that gives the appearance of the monochromatic, pea-green Game Boy screen and adds more 8-bit sounds to the main track. In addition, boxes collected on the way up will grant players credits, one hundred of which will randomly unlock another playable character. There's no difference in how these characters behave, but it nonetheless gives a decent sense of progression.
Blocky Bot is a fun little time waster that'll have you coming back again and again. The decidedly simple presentation and gameplay are a better fit for quick bursts of play and this may turn off some, but this is a surprisingly gripping arcade platformer. Chipper visuals, rapid fire gameplay and some light replayability make this a solid recommendation for those just looking for a mindless and easy to pick up experience.