The Game: Eat my dust, SimCity. Builder’s Block doesn’t ask you to build a city that conforms to any notions of political or environmental correctness. It just asks you to build it fast – damn fast. Match up color-coded blocks to expand the size of your buildings, use other special blocks to eliminate blocks whose colors won’t allow them to integrate them into buildings, and use the “clear level” block to collect your bonus and move to the next level before more blocks pile up than you can do anything with. It’s sort of like Tetris meets SimTower. The game includes puzzle, battle and arcade modes; the latter is the most graphically dazzling, betraying the game’s roots in the mid-1990s Taito arcade game Landmaker. (Taito, 2000)
Memories: Originally released a few years ago, Builder’s Block is now reappearing in bargain game bins once again, so it seemed like a good time to revisit it. I’d never heard of this game before, and it’s surprisingly addictive with a strong old-school puzzle game vibe. If you dig Tetris, you’ll like this one.
The puzzle mode may be the best place for new players to start, with its handy tutorial mode, but once you’ve gotten the basics down, the arcade mode is the real meat of the game. Its graphics are stunning, it’s fast-paced, and it’s the closest you can get to something like the two-player mode of the classic Game Boy Tetris without a Game Boy or a second player. (The arcade mode can also be played head-to-head.) Some of the story specifics of the original arcade game Landmaker are lost in the translation, but for pure fast-moving fun, it’s hard to beat. This is a buried treasure of the Playstation’s library, and it’s highly recommended.