Microsoft Corp.’s BattleBlock Theater for Xbox Live is a charming and inventive puzzle platformer that includes a mass of levels and quick fix multiplayer modes to keep the entire audience entertained.

Developed by The Behemoth, BattleBlock Theater features a shipwrecked crewmember that is forced to perform in puzzle platform levels to entertain a crowd of technologically savvy cats.

BattleBlock TheaterEach level, which can be played with 1-4 players, requires users to collect at least three jewels in order to open the level exit. Jewels also act as currency to free additional prisoners (different shaped heads). In addition, users can collect yarn balls to use to unlock new weapons.

Players can punch, jump, or use a weapon in order to proceed though each level. Three punches will eliminate an enemy, while weapons like exploding projectile bombs will kill instantly.

Level design is excellent with various blocks allowing the player to reach seemingly unreachable areas. A hot block will auto-propel the user higher, sticky blocks will allow the user to climb the side of it, rock blocks will crumble upon impact to unlock new areas, and cloud blocks can be passed through to reach additional areas.

In addition to Story Mode, the Arena Mode offers fun and frenetic online play for up to four in a variety of modes, including King of Hill to stand on crown blocks longer than the rival team, Capture the Horse to steal the other team’s horse and ride it to base, and Soul to attack and steal the opponent’s floating soul and rack up points while its possessed.

The graphics engine is solid at 60 frames-per-second. The block and cat characters live in a well-constructed, hand-drawn world painted with plenty of humor and originality. The sound engine is good with a lively narrator and upbeat tunes throughout.

BattleBlock Theater is a great digital download title that offers basic yet challenging levels and an addictive multiplayer component. Even when shipwrecked, these blockheads know how to put on a great show.

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