Developer: WeirdBeard
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 2.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound: Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls: Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay: Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value: Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

99 Bricks Wizard Academy is a small puzzle game with a ton of heart and an awesome premise. Players take control of a budding wizard as he tries to build the tallest wizard tower using an array of magically-conjured tetromino blocks. Unlike Tetris, these blocks are subject to the forces of gravity and magic, which makes building a tower in this game a challenging, fun, and sometimes humorous endeavor.

Each round of 99 Bricks Wizard Academy begins essentially the same way: players start with a construction base, upon which they must stack geometric blocks to make the tower taller. These blocks are all shaped like familiar tetromino shapes, meaning they can all theoretically lock together, but this game grants weight, momentum, and other physics properties to the falling blocks, making upward construction considerably more difficult. Even the most tightly-packed group of blocks is subject to swaying in the breeze. Each game of 99 Bricks Wizard Academy ends when players have dropped a certain number of blocks off of their tower.

011004Thankfully, as a wizard players have more tools at their disposal to help keep their tower from toppling over. While some of these abilities are baked right into the game structure, like the freezing of all blocks in place upon reaching pre-defined height levels, others are earned by collecting coins (which are earned simply by building) and unlocking them in the game shop. As players keep playing they’ll earn enough coins to unlock new spells, costumes, and wands – all of which can alter the gameplay on either an aesthetic or mechanical level.

In addition to unlocking things from the shop, players can also earn diplomas that will unlock new base structures for their towers, which provide different surfaces to build on and height advantages. These diplomas are earned by acquiring a certain amount of achievements (e.g. build a tower to the height of 500m without rotating a brick), and each diploma has multiple levels, making revisiting old towers and diplomas feel meaningful. Once all progression has been unlocked, 99 Bricks Wizard Academy stays replayable with the integration of Game Center leaderboards and built-in social media sharing tools that make showing off high scores a breeze.

010005The only drawbacks to 99 Bricks Wizard Academy are that the progression loop seems to get a little long in the tooth after a bit and that interrupted play sessions aren’t capable of being resumed. The combination of these two things can make the game feel a little tiresome at times, especially since abilities that allow for moderately satisfying recovery from poor block placement take a long time to earn. These things hardly take away from the main core of the game, though.

Overall, 99 Bricks Wizard Academy is a fantastic puzzle game that is easy to learn and endlessly replayable. It really puts a new twist on tetrominos that is both goofy and challenging in the best ways possible.


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