Friday, March 29, 2024

Mobile Friday - Block Cat Jam - A Simple Puzzle Game With Repetitive Audio And Many Intrusive Ads

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Block Cat Jam, also known as Box Cat Jam : Block Match, from developers Actionfit. I Played this on my iPhone 14 Pro, but it's also out on Android.

I had been wanting to play a puzzle game for a little while now and i was curious about this one. it was being regularly updated and the screenshots in the app store showed some interesting ideas. But it turned out to be a bit more basic than i anticipated.

One of the first things i noticed was how the Dynamic Island got in the way of the icons at the top of the game screen. it was clear that this game had been designed on another platform and then brought across to the iPhone, or an older model of iPhone at the very least. For some reason, the music was turned off by default and what i assumed to be the vibration never seemed to work, tho it's possible it was soo weak that i just didn't notice it.

What tutorial there is is fine. it's just text across the screen. it could've been more in-depth with videos or even a gif, but at first this is fine. where this hands off approach goes wrong is when power-ups are introduced. it wasn't clear until the level they're introduced was over that you have to pay for them. often, games will have special built levels and force you to use one as an example, saying that this first time is free to practice and then you'll have to pay for them. this is a simple thing this game misses out on as each level has 3 stages, so they could've introduced the power-up on the first stage and got us to use it as practice on the first and second stages, leaving the third stage to see if we could work it out for ourselves. 

This type of missing out is noticeable throughout this demo. there are soo many areas where things could've been improved or added to. for example, the cats on the home screen can't be interacted with, nor can you interact with the cat tree. one easy change would be to interact with them, but there's more you could do like having collectables in levels that can be used to customise the home screen. The music and sound effects are far too repetitive, and the cats are mostly the same base design with different colors.

But the thing that frustrated me the most are the adverts. if this game had kept the bottom adverts, i would've probably been fine. i would've liked the bottom buttons brought up a little higher away from the adverts to avoid mis-clicks, but for the most part those adverts were simple pictures or gifs. things that typically won't eat much into mobile data plans. but then the game introduced full screen video ads or ads you can play. these came with no warning whatsoever so already it came across as rude. but the frequency of these adverts was also frustrating. everytime you went from the home screen to a level, there's an advert. every time you finished the 3 stages in a level and moved to the next level, there's an advert. There are so many that i'm concerned that they'll eat into mobile data plans.

Having two sets of frequent adverts, especially the full screen ones rudely interrupting my gaming experience, coupled with the basic nature of the game and repetitiveness of many of the assets, made me come away from Block Cat Jam feeling disappointed and frustrated. i can't recommend this game, the gaming experience is just too negative and there maybe other games doing this style of puzzle better. best to avoid it.

Version 9.0 Played.