When I think of space games my mind goes to horror or the fight between alien races. But Crew 167: The Grand Block Odyssey from oddbreeze gives us a fresh new space adventure of a different kind. The game is a mix of push block puzzles and a story that discusses the idea of being alone, depression, and finding a new home. It balances the puzzles and story well throughout the game to keep the player engaged. Keep reading to learn more about our thoughts!
Be mindful there may be spoilers ahead.
A Mission To Find A New Home All Alone
Crew 167: The Grand Block Odyssey begins with a bit of a mystery. We only know that we have control of Crew 167 and that we are in space. Through flashbacks, the information found in reading documents throughout, and his interactions with AI with whom helps guide us, we learn the main story of the game. We are on a mission from our old planet Source to find a new planet suitable for life. From flashbacks, we learned that life was rough for crewmate 167 which is why he chose to join the program.
Due to a malfunctioning implant placed at the time Crew 167 joined the program that controls his anxiety and fear levels, he begins to see hallucinations that take the form of blocks. These blocks make up the puzzles that need to be solved to progress through the game. The story focuses heavily on the idea that Crew 167 deals heavily with depression and from everything we see, he is the only one on the ship which could add to his declining mental health. The story does have a few plot holes as it continues on as such as why the hallucinations continue even after the implant is removed though everything does tie up fairly well in the end.
Push This Block Then Push That Block
A major part of Crew 167: The Grand Block Odyssey is the puzzles that break up the narrative portion of the game. These puzzles are in the form of blocks that need to be pushed to a specific spot on the floor. The blocks are hallucinations caused by a malfunctioning implant. The puzzles start fairly easy and each new section expands by adding in new types of blocks and increasing the difficulty of the puzzles. The mechanics vary from boxes that need to be moved a set amount of times before being able to hit its destination and colored blocks that will only respond to its proper colored destination.
The increase in puzzle difficulty felt natural however the introduction of new puzzle mechanics was nonexistent. As you entered into a new zone it just expected you to understand exactly what the new mechanic was or fail the puzzle a few times. This could have been solved with maybe a verbal cue from Crew 167 giving a hint onto what a new box does or a pop up on the first puzzle to introduce what the player will need to do now.
Crew 167: The Grand Block Odyssey was a joy to play through, but it definitely has flaws. The good thing is that these flaws don’t make the game unplayable. The enjoyment comes in the form of Crew 167’s journey and living out the story. The puzzles themselves are engaging but just lack additional information to teach new mechanics when they are added. I recommend giving this a play if you enjoy puzzle games with a story to help drive it forward.
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