Blocktactic is a Surprisingly Challenging Match-Three Strategy Game

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Visually, Blocktactic is full of retro charm. The pixelated 16-bit graphics are rendered in 2D and are complete with low frame rates that you’d expect from old-school games. Blocktactic is full of bright and vivid colors that are eye-catching, and the various game blocks that it uses on the board are all unique and distinctive. There are four total block sets that you can use, but three of them must be unlocked by reaching a certain point threshold. The icons all represent some kind of force of nature, and are easy to tell apart from one another. Animations are smooth and fluid, but don’t expect something like 60 fps here — it’s old-timey, with slow blinking and flashes. For someone like me, it’s pretty nostalgic, actually.

To go along with the whole classic 16-bit schtick, Blocktactic has three different music tracks that you can choose from. Each one has some retro flair to it, and they’re all rather upbeat and catchy. You can sample them before starting a game, so take your pick and dive in.

There’s only one game mode in Blocktactic, but that’s all you need since it’s a high score chaser. The goal is simple and straightforward: match like-colored blocks to clear them out in clusters of at least three or more, and rack up as many points as you can. After you make each move, more blocks fall in from the top. A number in the bottom right corner tells you how many new blocks are coming, and it serves as a warning to how many open spaces you need on the board for them.

The controls in Blocktactic are easy and intuitive. To move a block, just swipe on it in the direction you want it to move to. It can be swapped with adjacent blocks, or just moved to an empty space. The laws of gravity apply, so you can’t move a block upwards without an adjacent block, and they will fall if you move them to the next column and it’s lower.

While the gameplay concept in Blocktactic sounds simple enough, it’s truly deceptive in the fact that strategy and careful planning is involved. Since new blocks come in after you make each move, the board can fill up pretty quickly. You want to think about getting consecutive matches and combos in order to keep the board from filling up, as you constantly need space for the next batch of blocks.

Once the board is too full, it’s game over. Your score gets tallied up and is dependent on the number of matches you make. The larger the match, and the more combos you do, end up as bonus points that get tacked on to your final score.

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