TransGaming Inc. has finally released their extremely addictive new game, KULA BLOX. The title, created by TransGaming’s Department of Fun, in-house Studio Division, leverages the company’s cross-platform game enablement technologies and will be made available on iPhone, iPod Touch (99 cents), iPad ($1.99), Mac, PC and TransGaming’s GameTree TV Platform. Targeted to a broad family audience, the release of KULA BLOX represents the Studio Division’s 3rd title, and very first original IP. The game will offer micro-payments and social media connectivity in future releases.
KULA BLOX is a fast-paced casual arcade game that delivers engaging, bite-sized entertainment through its exciting gameplay and beautifully illustrated cast of animal-themed characters. Players must maneuver their character as it falls through the sky, collecting or “eating” other creatures in order to gain points and grow bigger to ultimately find their way to the top of the scoreboard.
Your animal – there are three unlockable characters per map section to choose from – starts the level quite small, and must snack on the smaller animals in order to move up the food chain, growing bigger and stronger and thus able to devour the larger creatures. You only have three health points per level, and if you lose those, you lose the level and must start over. There are no health point boosts to snag on the way down. Just remember to watch out for the sneaky poacher. He’s not very nice and his sole mission in life is to knock your little animal senseless.
Thankfully there are a myriad of temporary special powers and pick-ups that will help players navigate their way through the Jungle, Savannah and Forest levels. TransGaming will be releasing new levels in the future, as evidenced by the “Coming Soon” placeholder where the fourth map collection should be. Some powers, such as the Cobra perk, slow down your animal’s descent, making it easier to capture all of the creatures on the way down. Other powers will make it seem like your animal has overdosed on steroids and make him bigger and stronger than the other predators, turning them into a nice, light snack. Each animal has a special power unique to his character, and players can equip one additional power, providing they have been unlocked. With a little practice, you can also use the game’s intermittent obstacles of branches and rock outcrops to your advantage. You can use them to grab a buffet of animals providing you time the moment of impact correctly, or you can use the arrow markers to bypass the obstacle completely and escape a predator or that blasted poacher.
The equippable powers are single-use, but you can build up their numbers by falling on the crates marked with a “?” in the piles of crates and chests at ground level. Hint: the bigger your animal is when you hit ground-level, the more crates you will break open. You can also gain coins from the crates, and these coins can be used to upgrade your pick-up powers, which to date include a Shellmet, a handy pick-up for fending off predators, a parachute which is very useful in capturing lots of prey, a magnet that increases your animalistic powers of attraction, and a score multiplier to get you to the top of the leaderboards on Game Centre.
Of course with all of these pick-up and power-up goodies must come a few challenges, and here I offer a few words of caution. Don’t break the lab beaker – it carries a nasty rabies plague that will turn all of the prey red and make them un-appetizing for a few seconds (which may seem like forever when you’re trying to complete your last goal for 100% on a level). Something to watch out for – seeing as you are out in the wilderness – are piles of poop. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently the fall from the airplane has had an adverse effect on some of the animals, and one of them – probably Kula Bear – left these treasures behind. Don’t touch them, because your cute little animal will smell awful and thus the other animals will try to avoid him. You’ll be treated to a very appropriate sound effect should you be unlucky enough to …fall in it.
Each level also has three goals for the player to attain by consuming the other creatures. Some are much easier than others to achieve, and may require several play-throughs to win. Thankfully, the designers were kind in that the game remembers which goals you have achieved so that you can concentrate on completing the other goals in the level without having to complete all three in one run.
“KULA BLOX represents a new standard for TransGaming Studios in that it aligns incredible creative endeavors with the innovative features that new and dynamic platforms bring, such as an interactive gameplay model and micro-transaction capabilities” commented Wojtek Kawczynski, Managing Director of TransGaming’s Studio Division. “The game is extremely fun and engaging for all ages. We’re excited to launch this cornerstone as the first in a long-line of titles within the KULA BLOX franchise.”
KULA BLOX is at the top of my “must-have” games list for casual play – as I would expect from TransGaming’s Studio team, every component of the game is top-notch, just as it was with their previous title, Garage Inc. The artwork is colourful and expressive, the game’s animations are subtle but amusing – except for that poacher guy – and the music is catchy and memorable. The sound-effects will make you laugh, as will the expressions on the characters’ faces. You can pick up and play KULA BLOX for just one level or until you manage to kill your device’s battery. The game’s memory system will remember which level you’re on and what powers you have unlocked. Once you’ve unlocked all of the levels and equippable powers, you can jump around as much as you want. KULA BLOX is highly-replayable and is suitable for any age.