rBlocks AR game

rBlocks AR Game Review (iOS/ARKit)

rBlocks AR is a casual block-stacking augmented reality iOS game for ARKit-compatible iPhone and iPad devices.  I know that some of you are reading this and thinking to yourself that it’s yet another very difficult block-stacking game. Well, it gets difficult, but it does that in slow steps. The game gets difficult as you progress through levels and it’s not one of those very difficult games like AR Robot RunnerSquishy Hoops or Leap Endless Run that you get to be frustrated more than you actually play the game.

How to play the game?

3D helicopter dropping boxes in augmented reality
The game has a nice presentation. I liked the subtle slow-paced animations, but its slow-paced also negatively affects the gameplay experience, making it more tiresome.

The goal of rBlocks AR is simple, you need to stack up a certain amount of blocks one on top of the other and move to the next level. You have a certain amount of lives (can be extended using bonus items) and a limited time to do so. If you drop a block which doesn’t stack up on a previous block, you lose one life—you lose all lives, it’s game over. This is a score based game, so you need to try to achieve the highest score possible. There is a global leaderboard as well, which allow players to see how they stack up against other players.

There is a helicopter that drops the blocks on top of a landing surface. You have no control over it, it just moves in different directions and it’s up to you to wait until the cargo area opens and the box is revealed, then wait until it is positioned on top of a previously dropped box and tap anywhere on the screen to drop it.

It can be quite confusing to do it when viewing the game from the front because it’s a 3D game. If you play it from the front, you have no perception of depth like that. I found it easier to play it from bird’s eye view (top-down perspective).

Having said all that, the gameplay itself wasn’t exciting. It felt very monotonous and repetitive. I just didn’t feel like going back again and try to break my own record.

There is a nice ‘Shop’ area where you can buy boosts and gold. You can use the gold to purchase new skins for your aircraft or for the block. The thing is that those skins are ridiculously expensive. I only have 58 coins, it will take me forever to reach the cheapest offering which is 2000 gold and the one after it costs 7000, with the most expensive one 20,000 coins. This is just ridiculous to say at least.

Game’s Difficulty

Playing rBlocks iOS game in the living room
At higher levels, I found it easier to play the game from a top-down view, so I can see exactly where the helicopter is positioned along the Z-axis.

The first level is very easy. When I first start playing the game, I asked myself: “Seriously, this is how it’s going to play. this is too easy”. Of course, I gave the game time to try to impress me.  Even the third and fourth levels weren’t hard at all, you just need to be patient. However, the fifth round was harder and I still wasn’t able to pass it just yet.

At higher levels, the helicopter moves faster and more erratically, so it’s hard to time the drop of the box right. The game has forgiving physics. I mean, the box will hold onto a previously place box even if it’s only partially placed on it. Still, if it just touches the edges, it will fall down.There is no balancing here, the box tower never collapsed due to unbalance weight.

Game's score page at the end of the game
You can see if you achieved a record, see the level you’ve reached and how many coins you’ve gained.

I think the game is well balanced overall. However, I found it quite annoying needing to start from the beginning every time. The first levels are very slow and you can’t do anything to really finish them much faster unless you just delay the drop. This means that to get back to level 5 I need to spend several minutes on boring slow-paced levels. This is why I like games that have levels, so you can feel the progression and if you fail you start from the last level which you failed at. Many games employ this progression design because of that.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics look nice, simple and colorful loy-poly graphics.  I like the user interface (UI), it’s really well made, including the opening screen, this is how I liked to be welcomed to a game. The visuals alongside nice and calm background music created a cheerful and lively vibe which helped improve the overall gameplay experience.

AR Experience

The game spawns a relatively small game area. The game plays vertically so you better of playing it with your iPhone or iPad in portrait orientation. It’s actually quite buggy in landscape orientation.

Overall, I’ve encountered any prominent issue. It’s a casual ARKit game that you can literally play anywhere you go.

Conclusion

rBlocks AR is a simple yet challanging AR game that you can play everywhere.  It has charming vibrant low-poly visuals with nice looking animations.

The good thing is that the game gets more challanging as you progress through the levels, and not super hard from the get-go. It’s accessible for kids but can be challanging for adult gamers as well.

Having said that, the gameplay itself felt monotonous and boring quite fast and I found it frustrating needing to go through the first 4 levels that felt just a waste of time. There are some games like Stack AR that I didn’t feel that. I think that the main reason for that is that Stack AR has a faster pace, whether in rBlocks AR you need to wait a few seconds for the cargo area to open and the block to appear. I think this part is just a waste of time. It looks nice, but it just prolongs the game for no good reason. I personally think this should be addressed.

Having said that, this slow-paced gameplay is more suitable for kids. I recommend adding an option to tap to quickly open the cargo area and second tap to release the block—This way everyone wins.

Overall, not an exciting AR game, and I personally can only recommend it for kids or for users who just need to kill some time and don’t want to put an effort in playing more demanding games. The game has a nice presentation, but unfortunately, there is nothing too much going for it. You can skip it.

You can download the game from the App Store here.

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