Blast Zone Tournament – Xbox One Review
Our Xbox One Review of Blast Zone Tournament
Is Blast Zone! Tournament an explosion of fun, or a game that leaves you with a short fuse? There’s an argument for both I think, because there are aspects of the game that are fun and actually quite technical, and there are times that I sat wondering who would ever put themselves through this
Blast Zone! Tournament calls itself a Battle Royale with a single player campaign and multiplayer options available too, and yes there is a Battle Royale concept… but realistically that’s not what this game is about! It excels as a PVP puzzle game where you have to outwit your opponents on a variety of game modes. Fans of the Bomberman series will love this game, I can tell you that for a fact
The campaign in itself is what you expect, loads of levels of increasingly difficult maps, designed to make you think you are great at the game for the first hour or so, only to realise that you are average at best in the latter levels! There are some fun maps and power-ups available, and the AI after some learning is quite easy to defeat each time. Realistically you will die more often due to your own impatience or because you decide to trap yourself (you will do it, and you won’t realise until it’s too late!) There’s 240 levels in total, so there’s hours of gameplay if you are into that, but I get the impression from the marketing that this game’s real focus is multiplayer…
And multiplayer is exactly what I would come back for, but maybe not in the way they hoped… From my experience on the Battle Royale online multiplayer side of things, the servers were quite laggy (Europe, evening) and there were often times when I was planning something the opposition would just skip somewhere else and any trap you placed became ineffective, or even worse you’d find yourself suddenly dead to a load of bombs that lagged in. That being said times when servers did run smoothly (and you survived the initial 20 seconds or so because the game is MANIC!!) it allowed for some great duels and outwitting, and having met a couple of others who enjoyed the game we created a private party, and this is where I saw the best part of the game… Private matches with friends!!
This game is the perfect party game, playing casually with friends, competing for glory in your ranks without taking everything too seriously. There are 10 different team and solo multiplayer modes including the classic Team Death Match and Free-For-All (or what companies now call Battle Royale!) as well as some fun modes like Bomb Blast that I would really recommend. We played for a few hours and had a lot of fun doing so, and it made me realise that this is where the game really comes into it’s own.
So up to now I know I’ve covered a lot about the game modes, and not really talked about some of the other aspects of the game, and that’s for a reason… this is where you will find out just how short is your fuse!!
Firstly there’s the music… oh the music! When the game is loading (and the loading screen is a long one!) and in the options pages, you are ‘treated’ to some crazed Electro Trance. Don’t get me wrong, put this on at a nightclub and I will be up and dancing, but on a game it’s too much! What makes the crazy music even more obvious is the fact that as soon as you are into the game itself, the music is subtle and not at all related! To it’s credit the music does fit the individual maps and themes, so there is consistency there, but it is just confusing. The rest of the audio in the game is simple enough, and doesn’t add or take away anything from the game and from a visual perspective it’s colourful, fun and again perfect for a party game!
The other part of the game that grated on me was the controllers, specifically the character movement! The action buttons are simple enough and will be quick to get used to, but the movement is rage inducing at times… I tried with both analogue sticks and with d-pad, and whilst the d-pad was better, both just seem really unresponsive. So many times it felt like the game was 2 moves behind what I was actually doing and it led to frustrating (albeit entertaining for others!) results. I spoke to the 2 people I played with, and one said they had the same issue, whilst the other (Xbox Elite Controller) said they did not, so I am not sure if it is related (although the controllers shouldn’t be too different really) but either way it made the game less enjoyable after a couple of hours or so.
So, whilst there are some glaring negatives, and in my opinion the marketing is way off the mark with the claims that it is a Battle Royale game (I could write a whole piece on the improper use of Battle Royale in marketing!) there are still fun aspects to the game, and with friends I can see it being a great party game. Whether that’s what the devs wanted to make or not, I don’t know, but I would certainly recommend Blast Zone! Tournament to those who love to play games with friends, and I will be looking forward to playing it on my next games-with-friends night!!
Thanks to Victory Lap Games for the game code.