Brick People is only slightly more fun than laying real life bricks
I’m still not quite certain where Brick People went wrong. On paper, the game sounds like a total winner: it’s developed by Sega, it’s got a goofy concept, and it features some fairly original puzzle gameplay. Somewhere along the line though, something got lost in translation. The game is certainly competent, but it isn’t anything folks will want to play for very long.
The basic concept of the game is that you have to help the titular Brick People reach the pieces of food floating above their heads. While the little guys are able to jump up and grab some of these items, they can’t reach them all. Players have to drag in bricks from the side of the screen and lay them on the ground, stacking them up so that the Brick People can climb the blocks and reach their taunting snacks. In the midst of all this, you also have to deal with a dwindling time limit that doesn’t reset in between levels.
However, you can earn some extra time on the “Brick Monster” levels (which star versions of the Brick People with horns sprouting from their heads). During these levels, players have to stack bricks into specified shapes, and any leftover time on the counter is added to overall timer that’s present in the other levels.
On one hand, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had here. It’s both maddening and fun to compete against the clock, trying to complete levels as quick as can be and squeeze out as many spare seconds as possible. That said, the unreliable timing and inability to directly control the Brick People makes the game less fun than it could be. When you’ve built up a direct path to the item that needs to be consumed, it’s more than frustrating when the Brick Person closest to it is standing still or wandering in the wrong direction.
The other big problem here is that there just isn’t a lot of lasting appeal. There are roughly twenty levels, but they never feel overly challenging. On top of that, there’s no real reason to replay the game after the final map’s been finished, as there aren’t any bonuses to unlock or extra achievements to earn.
Things are somewhat redeemed via the game’s multiplayer modes: split-screen and Bluetooth. Both versions pit players against each other over the course of three rounds. The goal is to try and finish collecting fruit before one’s opponent, but you can also mess up the other player by using special powers that are assigned at random during the start of a match. The multiplayer is certainly enjoyable, but the split-screen gameplay did have occasional multitouch glitches that made things less fun.
Visually, the game is cute but it isn’t anything amazing. The graphics feature some solid, retro-looking graphics, but they’re also nothing to write home about. That said, the colors are bright, the bricks seem to have a fair amount of personality, and the Brick Peoples’ animations are rather adorable.
Brick People starts off strong and interesting, but quickly reveals that it’s only a one-trick pony. The only time it’s really fun is when you get to play against someone else sharing the same iPad. That’s a huge problem: no game should ever have the phrase “the only time it’s really fun” attached to its description. It’s fine, but only hardcore puzzle fans are the only ones who stand a chance of falling in love with the game.