iPhone Life magazine

Review: Kula Blox by TransGaming, Inc.

I’m not an animal lover, but I’m also not one to see innocent little creatures get consumed by vicious predators – at least not as a general rule.  Unfortunately, Kula Blox makes the whole experience rather compelling.  This cute “falling” game actually adds a couple of cool twists to the whole genre and in the process it manages to create an entertaining casual game.  I honestly didn’t know much about Kula Blox before agreeing to review the game, but now I’m glad I volunteered for this adventure.

A Full House

The premise behind the game is that a plane carrying exotic animals malfunctions, and as one of those creatures you suddenly find yourself plummeting towards the earth.  Each level requires you to consume a certain number of your fellow animals.  To pass a level you must complete at least one of three goals, with the ultimate intention that you complete all three (they don’t have to be reach on the same run). Goals reached and coins collected from the pile at the bottom of the fall will translate to Kula Coins.

As you consume creatures you grow which is important because you can only eat creatures that are the same size or smaller than you.  Basically you want to consume everything you can.  Each creature has a unique skill, and you can also unlock common skills and items that can be upgraded in the store using Kula Coins you’ve collected.  Of course you’re more than welcome to buy extra Kula coins via IAP, but I’ve found that I can upgrade sufficiently with the coins I earn, which is the way a game should be.  Unlocked skills are activated manually and limited in supply, while items are activated when you run into them and last for a short period of time.

The Savanah
 

Most of the falling creatures are prey, and if they are too big for you they will just knock you around a bit when they hit you.  Occasionally you’ll encounter a predator, and unless you’re wearing protection they will take a heart away when they hit you.  You start a level with 3 hearts, and when they are all gone you have failed the level, even if you’ve met one or more goals.  In addition to the creatures themselves, you’ll often encounter landscape that when bumped into will shake you up for a bit.  The rule of thumb is – if it’s not a power-up and you can’t consume it, stay away.

Control is pretty basic.  The accelerometer is used to move your creature left and right, and tapping on the appropriate icon utilizes a skill.  Items are activated on contact, so you don’t have to worry about that.  Sometimes movement seems to get sluggish, but I think that’s on purpose.  I’m pretty sure the game adjusts control response for things like growth of your creature and change in surroundings. That’s the story I’m sticking with for now, anyway.

Monkey Not In The Middle
 

The graphics are cute.  There’s some detail to the backgrounds, though their sparseness makes them feel more like cartoon backdrops.  The animals actually have some personality, despite being basically squarish heads.  When an animal is too big for you to eat, there are nice outlines indicating whether they are a predator or prey.  The sound effects are decent enough, though it’s the animal noises that mainly stand out.  I don’t know how authentic they are, but some of them are pretty amusing.  The music is okay, but it has kind of a “Lion King” wannabe vibe to it and gets kind of old after a while.

All in all Kula Blox is a great little casual game.  It adds some new features to the “falling down” category of games, and has a cute presentation that will be endearing to kids and relaxing for adults.  The action does get repetitive, but the levels are quick enough and the multiple goals provide plenty of replay value.  I’d say Kula Blox is one adventure worth embarking on.

Overall Score: 8/10
App Store Link

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.