Joystiq hands-on: Boom Blox Bash Party level editor

Kevin Kelly
K. Kelly|05.14.09

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Joystiq hands-on: Boom Blox Bash Party level editor

Boom Blox Bash Party will feature the same level editor that the developers used to make all of the game's 400-plus levels. Anyone can design and share levels online (no Friends Codes attached), but an approval process is in place to prevent submissions with "boobies" spelled out in blox reaching the public. Although, if you prefer to sidestep the Man, you'll be able to share your more "mature" levels with friends ... privately. The community will also be able to rate public levels, à la LittleBigPlanet, so, when you go searching, you won't be randomly selecting ones that suck (spelled out in blox). User-created levels can be preview-played before downloading, too.
%Gallery-43419%EA will also be pushing level previews out to a YouTube channel and is considering hosting design contests. "For instance, we might have people create Thanksgiving-themed levels, and we'll pick the best ones out of those," assistant producer James Probst suggested, adding, "After we went beta, we sent all of our designers to just build online content. We set them free for two months and just said, 'Go!'"

Using the create mode is relatively simple, but it can get frustrating when you're trying too quickly to select and snatch tools and items from the sides of the screen with the Wiimote. You can literally grab any item featured in the game and drop it in your level, including the giant squid from the Pirate environments. You can also yank any level into create mode, repaint it, take out the hard stuff, and stick a Nuke Blox in there to ... blow the map to pieces. It's very satisfying, even if it doesn't count toward progressing through the main game. Actually, you accrue "Boom Bux" as you play, which you can use to "purchase" levels that you can't get past. (Sure beats a real micropayment, eh?)

Spielberg reportedly had a heavy hand in development again -- at least, his name's still on the box. Probst told us he came in at least once a week to check on the progress and make suggestions. "The slingshot was really his baby ... that's his favorite tool," Probst revealed.

In addition to the user-creation improvements, the development team (Spielberg included, apparently) has added new multiplayer modes as well. The developers challenged me in a level where we used Spielberg's slingshots to blast each others' discs off a game board, sort of like Sorry! Sliders. You could aim straight at the pieces, or grab the characters scattered around the level and hurtle them into explosive chain reactions.

Still, despite the promising community and multiplayer updates, our favorite addition to Boom Blox is actually the hero pigs -- with jetpacks bolted to their backs! Now pigs truly fly ... only to be snatched out of the air and sent careening into blox. Boom.
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