The Moki’s are back! Oh boy, how we have missed them!
Two years ago Godzilab’s iBlast Moki surprised us all. It offered up a fantastic, physics-heavy, puzzle-platforming game on the iPhone, all hidden beneath a cute and casual-esque exterior. We awarded that game a ful five stars, but can this sequel continue and improve on that success?
First impressions only scratch the surface of this sequel. It’s warmly familiar territory, like the feeling of returning to your own bed after a long time away. Delve deeper though, and you’ll discover new and exciting ways of experiencing the core gameplay, that impressed us so much in the first game.
For those unfamiliar with iBlast Moki, try if you can to imagine Cut The Rope crossed with Angry Birds, and throw in a bit of Little Big Planet for good measure. The original, of course, came out before both of those iOS titles, and may have even been part of their inspiration.
The premise is the same as before; getting the little Moki’s from one part of the level, to the exit (a swirling vortex) and back to their native land. Due to their lack of legs or any appendage, they need to rely on the laws of physics, and your help, to get them on their merry way.
Bombs are the basic method of Moki mobilisation here, this is due to their physical ability of being impervious to explosions and fire. As per the original, strategic placement of bombs, and at what time they ignite, is the key to success. Other objects soon come in to play too, such as rope, balloons, and metal rods, all of which can interact with each other and allow you to construct ingenious solutions to any problem put in your path.
With this being a sequel, you’d expect some new items, and these do not disappoint. First up are what I call paint bombs. These glass-like bombs contain various liquids which, when they explode, cover the immediate surrounding area. There are three types available: the red liquid gives a bouncing ability, allowing anything that touches, or rolls over it, a boost; the orange liquid is slippery, which acts as a turbo boost speeding up the momentum of any objects that pass over it; last but not least is the green liquid, which is sticky. Any interactive object which comes into contact will instantly stick, and can only be freed with a regular, well-placed, bomb.
There are new environmental objects too. By environmental I mean any object that is already placed in the scene, such as pullies, boulders and the like. These new ones include boxes of TNT, which has a larger blast radius and can be used to fire Mokis high into the air from confined spaces (like a human cannonball). Smaller rolling bombs are available too and, unlike regular bombs, react to the physical landscape, as well as packing a harder punch.
With all these items coming into play in the more challenging puzzles, the levels soon become a smorgasbord of moving parts. Like one of those crazy school science projects designed to break an egg.
The levels are broken down into themed areas. The new pirate themed levels – complete with costumed Mokis – adds a whole new spin on proceedings. Not only do you need to take into account the above water physics, but also those taking place underwater. These puzzles can really tax your brain as you work out what will drop and what will float.
There are more instances of moving scenery in these pirate levels too, including motorised pirate ships and even mechanical wooden sharks. It’s here where I am reminded of Little Big Planet.
A great feature in iBlast Moki 2 is that each level saves the state of your last actions, so if you are stuck and wish to return to it later, the level will be just as you left it. The same can be said for levels you have completed. It’s extremely satisfying to sit back and watch the puzzle play through and admire your own genius at finding the solution. Perhaps more so, is having that eureka moment, as you eek out those precious seconds to shave off your original time, thus awarding yourself with three full stars.
Should you get stuck, a new feature lets you view solutions from not only Godzilab themselves, but also user submitted ones. These can be purchased with coins earned through playing, or also as DLC (downloadable content) using real cash. Even if you have completed a level, it’s still interesting to see the multitude of alternative solutions.
There are a ton of levels to get through, each with the usual three star system (based on achieving certain objectives). The stars are not necessary to complete the levels, but they give you an added incentive to return and fully complete said level. Making a welcome return is the level editor, so should you make it through everything the core game has to offer, you can simply make your own levels, share them online with friends and strangers alike, and of course play more user generated levels. On an iPhone the original level editor was a little fiddly. It’s much improved in this sequel, including bezier curve construction of platforms, but it’s still tricky to build on the iPhone’s small screen. I advise playing and building on an iPad for the optimum iBlast Moki 2 experience.
Presentation-wise, the game has received a subtle but beautiful facelift. Everything looks more polished than before, running at 60 frames per second (over the original’s 30 frames) and also with more detail to the Mokis themselves, the environments, and backgrounds (you can zoom in to the environments with incredible fidelity). It would be a travesty to not mention the great soundtrack too. It’s sickeningly cute and annoyingly catchy, but fits perfectly with the visuals.
So, am I still impressed with the iBlast Moki experience two years later? Heck yes! I recently dropped a half point score on Cut the Rope’s sequel, stating that is was more of the same without any real fresh ideas. On a fleeting glance the same could be said to this game. However, on closer inspection you’ll discover more ingenious puzzles, an amazing level of freedom to creating solutions, and a great sense of replay-ability to better yourself. To me this is a true sequel, where you take everything that was great about the first game and then improve on it in almost every way.