Blackbox: Review

If you’re a fan of frustrating games and beyond-meta challenges, then undoubtedly you will have heard of Blackbox. In a nutshell, it’s a puzzle game which uses iPhone features in ways you didn’t even know you could, bending your mind and ruining your life as you play. It is definitely one of the best puzzle games out right now, so let’s get into this review!

Gameplay

The aim in Blackbox is to turn on all the ‘lights’, which are little squares with rounded
edges. To light them up, you must complete the puzzle inside of that light. Simple enough,

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Midday is a great time to play Blackbox.

right? Wrong. These aren’t crosswords or word searches, these are problems solved by literally using your phone. They range from using your camera, your microphone, even to the buttons on the phone itself, not to mention things hidden outside of the app too!

 

One criticism we do have is that some of the puzzles are actually too easy! For example, there’s a puzzle in which the solution is holding your phone still for a short while. This doesn’t take a huge amount of brainpower to figure out, just a steady hand, and such simplicity takes away from the satisfaction of the solve.

Graphics

Blackbox features incredibly simplistic, minimalist, graphics. There are no intricate details, (unless you count the puzzles themselves), and most of the designs are made up of simple vectors, which is quite ironic considering the complexity of the game. This gives it a lovely, clean look, so 10/10 for aesthetics!

The colours chosen for each puzzle work great together on the home screen, especially

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It’s not always good to have such a great connection with a game.

set against the dark grey background, and make it much nicer to look at, especially when you’ve completed them all!

 
Now, the animations. Are they good? Yes! Of course, they’re very simplistic, just like the art style, so they fit in perfectly with the rest of the game’s aesthetic. So, they look great, and perform very smoothly. Unfortunately, however, nothing’s perfect, not even the puzzle game by Satan. One improvement we’d suggest would be to optimise their performance on the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c, as they’re not the best they can be, especially when compared to those on an SE or higher.

Music/Sound FX

So, what kind of music can you expect from one of the best puzzle games the App Store has to offer? Nothing! That’s right, Blackbox is as devoid of music as the developer is of emotion! However, what it does have are some lovely little sound effects, so let’s talk about those.

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Gyroscopical!

Blackbox has a multitude of different effects, with most of them like a sort of ‘click’ sound. One of the best things about them is that they are very satisfying to listen to, especially the ones that play when you open and close the hints section of a puzzle!

In this particular aspect of the game, we have only one criticism, which is as kind of scratchy sound that plays just after the click effect when you open a puzzle. Of course, this might be an intentional effect, but either way, we feel as though it could be improved by being taken out.

 

In conclusion, we love Blackbox. It makes for a fantastic puzzle game, and certainly tests your intelligence, making you use your iPhone in ways you couldn’t imagine you could! So, if you have an Apple device, we would highly recommend you go for this app, and convince your friends to as well! Seriously, get your friends to. You’ll understand later.

Chrome’s Secret Minigames

Do you love secrets? Do you love minigames? Do you love dinosaurs and 1970s computer games? Well then, get ready for the most exciting 5-10 minutes of your life, as we show you Chrome’s hidden minigames!

Dinosaur Game

The first game on this list is one you can play without Wi-Fi, which, already, is great! To access the game, turn off your Wi-Fi, and run Chrome. Then, try and go to a web page, for example, our blog (shameless self promotion). A little pixelated dinosaur should appear, along with a message reading, “There is no Internet connection”. Now, tap space. The dinosaur should jump up, and a ground should appear, extending to the right. The dinosaur will start running, and the game will begin!

If you don’t want to turn off your Wi-Fi, you can still access the game here, and it’s possible to play this on mobile devices too!

Dinosaur Game

Breakout Images

This is a remake of the 1970s arcade game, Atari Breakout, in which you bounced a ball off of blocks, in order to break more blocks. It’s more fun than it sounds.

However, in Chrome, there’s a twist! Instead of the blocks just being solid colours, they’re images instead!

So, accessing the game. The first thing you need to do is go to Google Image search, which can be achieved by googling “images”. Or you can click here. Your choice.

The next thing to do is to search (in images) Atari Breakout. It should briefly show images of the game, and then shrink down into 5 rows of different coloured images.

After you’ve cleared all the blocks, Google will then randomly search something, and the game starts over, with different images!

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Build With Chrome

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I want to play with some Lego”, but the only Lego you own are two broken, chewed up Lego sets? Well, this is your lucky day, as there’s a Chrome app called Build With Chrome, which, essentially, is online Lego. All you need to do to access it is google search “build with chrome”, and it’ll be the first thing to come up. Click on that link, and, once re-directed to the page, click on the arrow labelled “Start Building”, and make your Lego dreams come true!

Can’t be bothered to follow those instructions? Here’s a link to jump straight into building!

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Smarty Pins

This one’s for all you geography fans out there. Smarty Pins is a game google made which utilises google maps, another popular service of theirs. However, instead of the map finding places for you, in Smarty Pins, you need to find places on the map! To play, simply Google “Smarty Pins”, or just follow the link here.

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What is Pokémon GO?

If you’ve been on the internet recently, then you’ll almost definitely have heard of the hit mobile game Pokémon GO! But what is it? What do you do? WHERE’S THAT PIKACHU? Read on to find the answers to all these questions!Pokemon Go.jpg

So, what is Pokémon GO? Well, it’s what every Pokémon fan has wanted since the TV show hit our screens. Real life Pokémon! Ok, I say “real life”. By that, I mean Pokémon visible only through your phones, but come on, it’s a good compromise!

Unfortunately however, there is one downside. To catch Pokémon, you need to travel in real life, which is rather inconvenient to those who hate the outside world. But hey, if you want Pokémon, you’re going to have to leave the house.

PikachuOn another bad note, the game isn’t currently available on Windows phones, which sucks. However, if you do want it to come to Windows, you can sign a petition here.
At the moment the only Pokémon in the game are the original 151. I’m hoping they’ll update to the full 721, all the way from Bulbasaur to the latest, Volcanion. As for Pikachu, I’m still searching. However, there is a trick to finding him, which we’ll be writing a post about on this blog, so keep your eyes out for that!

As long as Pokémon and Niantu keep updating the game, and people keep playing it, I think that Pokémon GO has a great future, and could go down as one of the best Pokémon games of all time!

What is slither.io?

Have you played agar.io? That game that was popular for a month or so, about eating tiny circles to make your tiny circle get big enough to eat other players, who, coincidentally, are also circles? Well slither is just like that! But with WORMS. Or snakes, it’s not that easy to tell.

So now you know what it is, you should probably learn how to play. Obviously, you’ve got to eat those orby things, but what then? Basically you (worm snake creature) charge in front of other players to kill them. When they hit your body, their worm snake turns into a load of tiny orbs that you eat to grow BIGGER and STRONGER! I guess, the bigger the better? There’s even a reward for the biggest snake of the day! You get to write a message that gets displayed in the top left of the screen, along with your username and length! Man, I really want to win that. I would totally just promote this website.

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Drink the blood  of your enemies….

You’re probably thinking, “Hey! This is just like agar.io but with disgusting snake monsters!” Actually,  no! It’s not! Although you can’t pick a custom skin, what makes slither unique is that it doesn’t matter how big you are! If you’re fast enough and agile enough, you can easily swerve in front of huge players, take them down, and feast on their remains. Yeah games!

 

You can play slither for free here!

Disco Zoo: Review

Do you love pixels? Do you love patience? DO YOU LOVE ANIMALS? If the answer to all those questions is “Yah bro” then this is the perfect game for you! But what’s it about? How do you play? When will there be an update? The answers to all (most) of these questions are in this review!

Disco Zoo’s an awesome game, but what’s the best part about it? Well personally, I think the coolest thing about it is the art style. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m a pretty big fan of anything pixelated! That’s why this game caught my eye. The art’s awesome, and all the little animals look amazing!

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Another awesome thing about Disco Zoo is the hidden minigame “Funky Bus”. It’s basically just a harder version of Flappy Bird, but with a bus. On a motorway. With lots of animals inside. Not interested in secret minigames? Ok then! Why don’t you check out the huge selection of hats you can buy for your animals! There’s no better way to show your affection for your pixelated pets than to buy beautiful hats with your hard earned money!

But how do you rescue animals? Well, after you’ve set off in your vehicle of choice you’ll be confronted with a 5×5 grid and some tiny pictures of pixelated animals at the top. What you’ve got to do is tap those 25 tiles until you find an animal! Once you’ve found one, you’ve got to work out it’s pattern. Once you’ve completed the pattern, the animal will be added to your zoo!

Unfortunately, not everything about Disco Zoo is perfect. For example, to get the most out of it you’ll need to have a lot of patience. The game starts very slowly, and it takes ages to build up enough money to keep rescuing animals. Because of that, the game only appeals to a certain kind of audience: people with a lot of time on their hands. Of course, the more animals you collect, the more money you’ll make, but it can take a very long time.

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Another pesky thing about Disco Zoo is the cloud sync. Yes, it’s extremely useful, especially if you’ve got 1768 animals animals and are earning 1283.6 coins per minute (me). Unfortunately, what the cloud save service does not provide is sync across different platforms. That means that what you do on Disco Zoo on an Apple device isn’t transferrable to an Android.
This is pretty annoying, since you may have made a ton of progress that you can’t sync to your lovely new Android phone!

All in all, Disco Zoo is an awesome game, with awesome art, made by awesome people. It’s one of my favourite games, and probably the only app I open daily! Of course, it’s not for everyone. I’d recommend this game to anyone with a lot of patience and a willingness to sit around and tap  a screen for a day or so. So, although it starts quite slowly, Disco Zoo does have great pixel art, and the gameplay picks up after you’ve collected a couple o’ dozen animals!