Block Knights: 4 Play Modes add Variety to this Puzzle

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block knights iphone appAdding the innovation of iPhone's range of motion capabilities to a Tetris-like puzzle format, BitCaper's Block Knights spins, or more appropriately, tilts and dips, into four fun different variations of the classic challenge of  arranging predetermined block combinations to form and clear rows of blocks.

The motion really adds a fun but formidable element to these puzzlers. There is something nearly supernatural about using the tilt to suspend a piece as it is issued, being able to manipulate it thoroughly and give its placement thought. (However, that's where time can be tricky: the user must learn to not to abuse this newfound power in timed modes!)
Block Knight's original musical score and rich, vivid knight graphics are great in that they are enjoyable, but not intrusive. The black knights that appear in the backgrounds of the stages bear a strong resemblance to ninjas, making them all the more amusing. The user does have the option to use or mute game sound, which is always a convenient feature, but hearing the fanfare of horns that greets the player at the start menu certainly does a lot for one's ego.

There is a lot of common ground between the four types of gameplay in Block Knights. The one rule that threads through all four is to keep the blocks away from the red square in the center, which the pieces emerge from. Building and clearing lines can occur on all four sides. A tap rotates the piece in play and tilting directs it.

Sometimes, instead of a piece, a little bomb is hurled out instead. Instinctively, at first I was tilting my iPod touch to the extreme corner to let the bomb explode furthest from my pieces. It was only a short while before I realized that the bombs are helpful in deconstructing areas where a few stray pieces may have been hastily placed, and allow redemption.

Another minor snag to overcome is remembering that placement can occur on all sides. Building to the left or right, the shorter sides, on the iPod or iPhone screen is advantageous given the devices' dimensions: shorter lines to arrange, thus clearing them quicker.

The most compelling variation is Guilotine, in which, setting each individual piece is timed. By a rough approximation, there seems to be about 8 seconds allotted to rotate the piece as necessary, place it or clear a line to earn more time. When the time runs out, your game is over. It's more manageable incarnation, Arcadia, seems to be the same challenge with a much longer and more easily renewing time line, offering around a minute to get a line clear.

Infinitas was fun, perhaps even "relaxing," as its description denotes, with its only rules being to keep the pieces out of the red square, as mentioned, and to clear lines. No time contraints or otherwise daunting tasks need to be met. In Quest mode, you must encorporate randomly preplaced blocks with eyes peering out, "Mobs," into your usual building and clearing campaign, to eliminate them.

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