BLOXEED: Walkthrough and Finesses

Table of contents (to be added)

Learning the changes by levels

As being introduced to the basics of Bloxeed, the next thing to learn is how to earn the score, but you have to know what parameters change at certain levels during a game. The following table exhausts them with the corresponding levels. (The explanations are premised on the Normal difficulty setting.)

Tab. 1: Notable changes by levels
Level Explanation
0 Lowest speed with the level timer of about 1 minute. Build up the stack, and increase the chance of power block pick. It's rare but superb if you can activate Flicky twice at Level 0.
1-8 The level timer is shorter. (two-thirds of Level 0) Still enough time to choose power blocks (PBs), but not possible to activate them twice. Pick Flicky or proceed levels erasing 6 lines per level.
9 The first level to play under the 1G speed. But the level timer becomes as long as at Level 0, so you have time to choose PBs. Set up your stack thinking of the strategy during Level 10.
10 The drop speed reduces. From here, the garbage rising gradually becomes more frequent. This is the last level to milk lines with Flicky, so make sure to create rooms to choose PBs.
11-14 The level timer is extremely short, half as long as at Level 0 (29s) during this section. Hesitation forces you to progress levels, so don't greed PBs and collect lines or downstack quickly.
15 The speed is constant at 1G until Level 50, a lamp of the garbage meter fills within a second, and the falling speed of characters is maxed. Level 15 is the true beginning of the game.
16-18 During these levels, the cycle of garbage rising becomes a bit faster and faster, but don't mind if you are confident in stacking under the 1G gravity.
19-30 The cycle of garbage becomes constant. You will regularly see the end of the garbage pattern during this section. The last 8 lines are difficult to downstack so you need to learn the way.
31-39 The cycle of garbage is much faster. At a high stack, S is a more valuable PB than F. After the garbage pattern loops, the well becomes straightforward and it's chance to erase multiple lines.
40-49 The speed of garbage rising reaches at max. Keep downstacking. Especially it's best if you finish the second loop of the garbage cycle, otherwise, it's difficult to deal with under 2G.
50-99 The gravity hits 2G. No changes take place after Level 50. Line-per-level efficiency is no longer needed, just keep thinking of how to survive at every moment. Best of luck to you.

Here, the things you need to learn and master will be explained, taking into account the walkthrough chart presented above.

Efficient line pace (with 4 Lines)

Bloxeed has two conditions to progress the level: To put a piece without erasing lines when the level timer is already expired, or to clear lines more than the required number (3 for Japan version of Bloxeed with factory settings) during one level.

The former condition will reduce the lines you can gain in a single level, so you want to suffice the latter condition with maximum line efficiency. To do so, make two lines total first, then hit a Tetris to erase 6 lines in one level, which is the maximum line-per-level efficiency possible. If this pace is constant, you have 300 lines at Level 50 without having any Flicky power block. The setup for making 6 lines per level is following:

Lines cleared by 4 Lines are counted toward the level progression, and if you do "activate a 4 Line with triple or tetris, with the stack height more than 6", the level progresses by 2 with only one power block. (Furthermore, it's least efficient when the stack height is 5 or 6 since the 4 Lines results in a triple line clear, which is obviously worst. But this move is acceptable only if the eventual height is 4 or less since the 4 Lines clears less than 3 lines and it doesn't meet the next level condition.) The quick level-up is useful when you get a high score, but it's the opposite for most line counts. Also, you must be careful to handle this dangerous 4 Lines power block because it has more priority than other power blocks and it might deactivate other power blocks which you wanted to use accidentally, or place the 4 Lines on the same line with a Flicky. (In this situation the Flicky can never be activated.) To avoid unexpected activation of 4 Lines, you may take some options. for example, place 4 Lines in the middle of the stack higher than row 5 avoiding a tetris at the bottom and skimming on the surface of the build; or you can activate another power block to neutralize 4 Lines maintaining the line-per-level efficiency. (Exploding the Bomb at an irrelevant place or just do nothing or clean out the surface with Satellite is okay.)

Even if the stacking accommodates few pieces, don't be panicked, and memorize how many lines you cleared during the current level, and activate (or don't do) 4 Lines with the most efficient number of lines. (Fig. 1-2) There is a little technique named "building an antenna" (as in Fig. 3): put pieces so high that the 4 Lines can award a tetris. This technique can be used if you pick 4 Lines but the stack is too low, but you have to activate it quickly for fear of level timer expiration or for preparing the transition of the speed change and/or the garbage pattern change.

Fig. 1: Typical 4 activation w/ Double (fumen)
Fig. 2: Adjusting the activation (fumen)
Fig. 3: "Building an antenna" (fumen)

Stalling for waiting the garbages

As a common technique in Sega's Tetris variants, abusing step reset (see also a tip about Flicky's infinity) is a typical way to stall the falling pieces. Regularly, using this technique consumes the level timer, so it looks like not that useful in the category for most lines because the line-per-level efficiency is the more important thing to maintain. However, the stalling is useful to spawn more garbage lines. (especially in the earlier levels) Here are the examples of the case when you want to progress the garbage pattern:

The first case happens only if the identical lines continue (the patterns I (twice), J, L, O) but the first twelve lines will be passed at least until Level 15. At the beginning of the game, you need to pay attention to the line count efficiency and power blocks rather than the next garbage, so you might remember the last garbage pattern but lose track of how many garbage lines you received, particularly when you have cleaned up the bottom already. Sometimes you want not to be bewildered by the hole of the garbage line altering its position, making a recovery sluggish, and forcing you to use a power block in an unintended timing. Of course, it won't matter if you are able to memorize every parameter, but you can stall pieces in case of forgetting about it. Having a second option is always good for sustaining your consistent plan. However, be careful not to expire the level time in that case. (see Fig. 4)

The second case is when you expect that an additional line of garbage will add the depth of the waiting well, for example you receive 3 lines of J-shaped garbages very recently and the next line will add be another row. This kind of waiting is effective at higher levels because the cycle of garbage rising is faster than usual. Even though handling pieces under 1G or 2G is a bit difficult, but just dropping a piece step by step easily fills the meter and the garbage line spawns. (Fig. 5) If you cash in the garbage lines, you cannot distinguish them from the playfield, so don't forget how many lines you received and when the next pattern comes.

The last case, to save power block for the time of need, is often seen when you are receiving the last eight lines of the garbage (2 center Os, center T, and left T). The center well makes the stack unstable and the last two lines with a T-shaped hole on the left are quite troublesome. Saving a power block like Satellite or 16t to skip these garbages is a great strategy to employ. (For clear-cut details, see Fig. 6.)

Fig. 4: Checking the next garbage (fumen)
Fig. 5: Wait for more lines at a tine (fumen)
Fig. 6: Power blocks takes effect on more garbage lines (fumen)

Mastering Flicky with 60 shots per second

Using Flicky with synchronized autofire buttons, you can fill a column of the playfield with blocks in 1/3 of a second (provided you fill a blank column to pile 20 cells). However, the excessive rapid-firing makes the behavior of the game pretty awkward. Flicky has an interaction with line clear effects, so it has unique glitches which cannot be observed with Satellite even in the 60 shots/sec circumstance. The following things are worth mentioning as you control Flicky:

よく分かるFlicky:上手いセットアップにより19段を一気に組むことが出来たおかげで、一度の消去処理で、8列ずつ消えているのが分かりやすい図が撮れた。 #Bloxeed

— SQR Y3@01/12 My new gear... (@skysqraper) November 9, 2021

Flicky's Sidestepping

The best way to cash the line count with Flicky is called "sidestepping" which has four steps. You can regularly gain about 55 lines at Level 0 with this technique. At Level 10, the speed of Flicky gets slightly slower as well as falling pieces, and the level timer is set to the longest period of 58 seconds. This level makes Flicky very efficient because you have a longer time to stack and you can wait for the power block twice during a single level.

  1. Move Flicky at the end of the side where there's no well. (Press autofire buttons during movement, then Flicky puts a cell on each column traveled from column 5. Then the column 1 or 10 will be filled with cells.)
  2. If you start from the left edge (column 1), fill the cells until they hit Flicky, and then soon after you hear the sound of landing, move her to the right adjacent column.
  3. Repeating this process, you can clear lines filled with cells created by Flicky. Press the autofire by eye measure for fear of tripping Flicky at non-cleared cells. Make sure that no lines can be cleared by Flicky at the column, then autofire the button to the limit. When she touches the blocks created by her, move her to the left adjacent column (column 9).
  4. Repeat the processes 2. and 3., turning back to the left. Change the direction of Flicky as she reaches either side of the wall.

A typical pattern of Flicky's sidestepping is shown in Fig. 1 (see the link to step-by-step fumen displays). One thing which you must always pay attention to is the line clear delay period. When the line clear animation begins, no additional line clear does not take place until the line clear delay expires. What is more, the maximum number of the line clear at a time is 8, so the line clear is delayed when more than 8 lines are completed simultaneously. But for the care of these delays, you would deactivate your Flicky unexpectedly.

To avoid the unexpected lock of Flicky, you may choose to not stack the well fully (with moderate height by the eye measure), as in Fig. 2. The advantage of stacking at the well not fully is the behavior of the line clear; when the column by the wall is empty, no line clear will happen until Flicky reaches the column, and if the stack height is 8 or less, you can press the buttons without the fear of tripping Flicky on a spawned cell, then you can turn her back safely and repeat the process of sidestep. This procedure might reduce the resulted lines slightly, but it is important to stabilize Flicky's behavior, especially at a moderate speed of Level 6 or Level 12 or further. (On these levels, the first turning back is important to keep Flicky activated longer.)

The most extreme way to adopt this concept is what is called "indecent sidestepping", where you sidestep Flicky at the bottom of the playfield. The most optimal situation to do this is when the level is extremely low (at Level 0 or 1) and you can build an all-clear stack of single or double (or even triple). Keep autofiring and tapping the lever to the same direction (a finesse known as コンコン (kon-kon, an onomatopoeia of tapping sounds of the lever)) to fill the line. The indecent sidestepping finesse is explained in Fig. 3 and its execution is recorded in the author's video clip from Twitter.

Fig. 1: The sidestepping (fumen)
Fig. 2: A refined sidestepping (fumen)
Fig. 3: The indecent sidestepping (fumen)

1面番長ならぬレベル0番長を紹介。連射を切る目押しタイミングが非常に難しいのです。最後の1〜2列でシンクロ連を駆使して粘ってラインを消すことを俗に「見苦しい反復横跳び」と呼んでいます。 #Bloxeed

— SQR Y3@09/05 PGRF2, 09/18 Home (@skysqraper) April 29, 2020

Tip: Is the sidestepping executable infinitely?

The sidestepping like Fig. 3 is problematic if this finesse can be executed infinitely resulting in a detection of infinite pattern (= therefore the competition is invalidated), but it is impossible.

In Tetris, there was a technique abusing lock delay and step reset to keep a piece much longer than the lock delay. (A tool-assisted performance explains the step reset abuse.) Applying the same logic to Flicky, if you could reset both the descent step counter and the lock delay counter, you would not have to do every move in the precise 1F, but you would do everything just before the lock delay is expired at each operation to complete an infinite number of lines. However, this prediction is not borne out and you cannot prevent Flicky from falling down.

If Bloxeed's physics produces the same behavior as in Tetris, it resets only the descent timer and lock delay is kept during Flciky's floating. It turns out false easily because Flicky is not locked unless she stays the whole 30F of lock delay at a single place and this results she is landing on a cell for more than 30F when she's at row 2.

If we look closely at the indecent sidestepping frame-by-frame, when Flicky moves to the next blank column, it takes "apparent" 3 frames until she lands on a cell created by herself. (As we notice this interval takes more than 1F, the possibility of an infinite pattern is rejected.) The author tried the indecent sidestepping technique at Level 0 and investigated how many cells were put when Flicky was in row 2. As a result, after putting 25 cells she descended by one row. After researching it at different levels, it seems to be formalized that the indecent sidestepping can put cells equal to half the number of frames of the descent timer of Flicky (see Tab. 6 on the introduction page). Therefore we can conclude that the sidestepping does reset the descent timer but does not the lock timer, and she cannot sidestep infinitely as filling the next column consumes 2F for each column and eventually, she must land at the bottom of the playfield after a limited number of iterations.

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