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Christian Dywan
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Christian Dywan

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The game description already hints at it: Falling Blocks is really reminiscent of a certain game. Can't put my finger on it. Super Mario Land?

Now the basics of the game are easy to understand. If you don't know it you will probably end up tapping the pieces and kind of getting that you need to tap to rotate and drag to move it around. A quick tutorial with at least one screen would've been nice, though - don't exclude players who have not grown up in the age of monochromatic video game screens.

The UI is pretty straightforward, you see the Next Block, which is the piece that will be approaching after the current one stops moving. You get the Stored piece (more on that later), Stop and Pause buttons and then some stats, Score, Lines, Level. The layout works if slightly awkwardly - why is main tile screen offset from the top? Why are Stop and Pause text buttons rather than big icons? And perhaps most importantly, why is the color palette so muddy looking - how about using the Ubuntu color palette for instance?

Back to the gameplay. That's something I actually can't complain about much, pieces are falling, rotating, moving, erasing lines. And the Stored feature is a nice tweak to a well-known gameplay: no use for this piece? Just stash it for later. But note that it gets traded for the previously stored one after the first time you do this, so you better think what to do with it. And the trade is one way, you can't undo it if you realize it was the wrong choice, you will have to use it. Curiously the trade always moves the exchanged piece back to the top - this seems potentially a bug, although I'm not sure, at least my gut feeling is, this is unexpected and exploitable, but then, maybe it is an intentional part of the gameplay?

What's slightly annyoing while playing is actually an issue not with Falling Blocks but with Unity going to the app switcher all too easily when I am meaning to move a piece to the right. Thankfully the game pauses instantly when moving to the background, so again kudos for getting the basic mechanics right.

Ultimately my biggest gripe with Falling Blocks is oddly enough the lack of long-lasting motivation. As far as I could see, even though the level increases over time, nothing else changes. I don't even know what causes the level to change because the game doesn't do anything to teach me that: if you've played Super Mario Land (the game this one is clearly based on) you know that level always increases with erasing a certain number of lines. How do you know that? Because there is a high pitched sound telling you. Also speed changes with every level. And finally the music adapts to the speed. None of this is unfortunately happening with Falling Blocks, I'd love to see that in a future version. And I'm sure there are ways to not flat out copy this behavior. Given that colors are available which weren't back in the day I could picture a gradient changing slowly. Even achievements - imagine you could unlock wallpapers featuring game characters, open source mascots or historic Ubuntu wallpapers? Or a monochromatic mode?

All of that said, including some harsh critique, I do recommend giving Falling Blocks a try, the mechanics are rock solid, and really the only flaws are features I would really love to see added to a good base!

https://uappexplorer.com/app/fallingblocks.sanderk1007kpnmailnl
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+Christian Dywan, I love your reviews!!!
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Christian Dywan

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I'm so used to CI in the context of my work these days, I get really uncomfortable when tests are skipped or temporarily disabled. And from experience I've come to expect weird failures whenever they run again. Makes me wanna scream. :-(
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scream!

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Lynx: "Aaah, sweet!"
      "Now we wait for a little while!"
      "See, they're already starting to rise to the surface!"
      "It's a bit of a disgusting method, but hunger is always a 'any port in a storm' situation."
Weasel: "Necessity is the mother of invention!"

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kamalaluonto/car-1289007564299.html
#KamalaLuonto  
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Aren't the persistent nag screens that far outperform any form of advertisement bad enough? Do you now have to put posts in Google Plus that have no content other than DONATE NOW in white on red letters? I'm sure you can find better options. Alas there's no room apparenly between a link that's almost not noticible and in your face....
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Christian Dywan

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Rabbit: "Tickle tickle tickle tickle..."
Lynx: "They are so happy. I'd feel bad eating them while they're having such a good time."
   "This is good!"
Weasel: "You can taste the happiness!"

#KamalaLuonto  
http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kamalaluonto/car-1289015725781.html
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The Project Sputnik team. The folks behind the XPS 13 and M3800 developer editions
https://twitter.com/barton808/status/626439668536442880

#ubuntu  
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I can identify with that!
 
Lynx: "My uncle from the north used to say you'll never reach your destination, if you only travel during sunny weather."
Weasel: "That's stupid! Nonsense!"
      "No matter if it's sunshine or rain, I don't want to reach my destination. Travelling is more fun."

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kamalaluonto/car-1289004877807.html
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This 382-year-old publication is the oldest book in existence to use multicolored printing. The book of Chinese art and calligraphy is so fragile it wasn't opened until recently so it could be digitized for the first time, and is now being called “perhaps the most beautiful set of prints ever made.” You can now flip through entire book online courtesy of Cambridge University. More at the link:

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/08/multicolor-printed-book-ten-bamboo-studio/
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Christian Dywan

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Blatantly stupid...
 
GitHub launched GitHub Desktop today... with zero Linux support in sight. It's interesting that their first-party client continues to ignore possibly their biggest resource: developers who are already using open source software.

The argument I hear again and again is that "Linux users are used to the command line, so they don't need a GUI." And that's backwards thinking that will perpetuate the notion that "Linux" or things built on Linux are too hard for non-experts.
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When I don't cook Japanese food or drink Gyokuro, I tend to hack web browsers or play dungeon crawl. Or maybe I read Chinese fairy tales in the middle of a sleepless night.
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