Updated: Apr 23
The idea of smashing through city blocks as a kaiju sounds like a good time, especially in VR. And when Block Buster came across my desk, I knew that I wanted to give this game ago. And while I was expecting something more like Rampage in VR, Block Buster is a good time and does an excellent job of forging its own path.
While there isn’t a story per se, the premise is rather interesting. You get to let out your inner child as you play as a kid, creating the world you’re playing in with blocks. Although this isn’t apparent right away, after your first run, upon returning to your bedroom, you start to see the inspiration: boxes of toy kaiju’s sitting on a shelf, a toy box, a city rug that acts as the map that you play in, a crafting table that allows you to customize your kaiju.
But if that didn’t give it away, you see your character wearing a kaiju costume when you enter the wardrobe. It’s a neat twist to the game and wasn’t something I expected. And while the game is enjoyable as an adult, I wondered if the target audience isn’t geared towards a younger audience.
As you probably expect, you go through different levels, smashing away at blocks stacked to make it look like a city. As mentioned above, the idea is that you set up the toy blocks and now are wreaking havoc on the town. Toy cars and people will wander around the city, and picking them up and eating them will increase your size, which acts as your health.
There are five worlds to play in, but only the first world is unlocked. You’ll need to complete challenges in the previous world to unlock subsequent ones. Each level has several zones; you can’t move on to a different zone until you find the power generator. Smashing the generator will cause a crack in the electric fence surrounding the location, allowing you to punch it and move into the next area.
A significant part of Block Buster is exploration. You’ll find kaiju parts and city block points throughout the town. When you return to your room, you can use the points to get prizes and the kaiju parts to create a new monster.
The points are used to buy a spin on the Wheel of Karnage. Spinning the wheel will award you with either a common or rare toy. This is one of my favorite parts of the game, as there are two hundred different toys, and the bedroom has plenty of shelf space, allowing you to display your new addition. The toys also appear in the game, which plays into the idea that this game’s from a child’s perspective.
Building and customizing kaiju suits is also a lot of fun. Each piece - head, body, and hands - must be created before you can play as the kaiju. You craft the parts by gluing different pieces together. After you complete the kaiju set, you can customize the suit with paint. After you customize your look, you can go to the wardrobe and see how it looks. I wish you could mix and match the different kaiju sets, but I imagine that it would take a lot of work from a programming perspective.
While the game feels geared toward children, the boss battles are not easy. As you enter each zone, new enemies will appear, and most are relatively easy to take out; the bosses are much more powerful and pack a punch. You have a charge weapon that you can blast at the enemy, but this will take energy from you, and you’ll shrink in size, which is your health. You can eat people to recharge your health, but when a slew of armory bombards you, it’s hard to keep up.
This is where my biggest criticism comes to play, as turning generally feels delayed. Another thing that feels off is the collision mechanic. Smashing buildings with your hands feels good, but when you walk up to a building, you walk right through it instead of it toppling over as I expected it to happen. Even in the bedroom, I was walking through shelves, which caused me to drop the toys I had in my hand that I wanted to display on the shelf.
Final Grade: B+
There’s a lot more to Block Buster than just smashing through blocks. There’s plenty of customization and collectibles that add to the fun of the game. The concept is interesting, and while it feels like its target audience is kids, the game is punishing, and I found the boss battles frustrating. Hopefully, there’ll be updates in the future that will help with some of the movement issues, but overall, I enjoyed my time with Block Buster and looking forward to what more the devs add to the game.
Review copy provided by the publisher