Retro Review: Boom Blox Bash Party

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There’s a handful of multiplayer games you might expect to get wheeled out at any given opportunity. For any Nintendo fan titles like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, whatever the version, are also go-to games. Since the Nintendo 64 Nintendo had staked out local multiplayer as an area to excel at, with 4-player gameplay being major selling points for the N64 and the Gamecube. The Wii was able to take this to another level, with ‘casual’ and party games among the consoles top sellers – one only need to take a look at the sales of Wii Sports to know how successful this idea was. It may not have achieved as much success, but Boom Blox Bash Party is just as much a staple multiplayer game whenever friends come round.

Like the most enjoyable Wii games Boom Blox Bash Party is both easy to understand and intuitive to control. Using the Wii remote you’re launching a ball at a colourful tower of blocks, hoping to knock off as many as possible. That’s effectively it – it really is that simple. A variety in scenarios and game modes manage to make this feel completely different in multiple situations, however. There are competitive modes where each player is tossing their balls at the same structure, and modes where each player has their own tower (or pirate ship) made of blocks, and the the last man standing wins. The genius of the game is finding and refining one simple, though immensely satisfying, core mechanic and then finding different ways to utilise it to not only add variety but also accommodate different moods. The game is credited to Steven Spielberg, who apparently designed it – its not exactly a connection that will leap off the screen, but if that’s something that would recommend this game to you then its worth bearing in mind. The game’s blocky, cute, and sometimes slightly sinister animal characters that stand around waiting to explode or just fall off also add to the appeal.

 

The game is itself a sequel to the first title, Boom Blox, but this is definitely the version you’ll want to check out. With not a whole lot separating the two games apart from some compelling new modes and mechanics and some pleasing alliteration in the title, there’s not much reason to pick up the original as well. Like many Wii games the title has become very cheap in the second hand market, and if you still engage in motion-controlled multiplayer on the Wii or the Wii U it’s definitely worth picking up for that price. As with many of the best multiplayer games of yesteryear Boom Blox Bash Party seems like it would be perfectly suited for either a port or a new title on the Switch. With the Switch’s hd-rumble, joy-cons and portability this would be a perfectly suited game to quickly get new players to try.

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Matt Crofts
Matt is the SFFN's Retro Editor, focusing on all things old but interesting, including (but not limited to!) books, movies and video games. As a researcher in Gothic literature Matt also has an affinity for black cats, Hammer horror, and all things Dracula.