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.)
|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.
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.
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.)
In Bloxeed, you have to deal with the high playfield occasionally because of the garbage lines and gravity which is 2G at maximum. But, you must not be afraid of higher playfield too much when you want to beat this game. You can even exploit the advantage of stacking higher to tally more lines in the opening game. So it is very important to learn how to score more lines and how to survive in apparently dangerous situations.
Even though power blocks are ones of the most crucial features in Bloxeed, there is no concrete way to pick what kind of power block in the next, and no analysis has been made to exemplify the apperance period of them. Playing Bloxeed is heavily dependent on the RNG which has to do with the power blocks, making this diffucult game much more difficult by causing some RNG-rigged games, so we have no royal road to beat this game; we have no idea other than repeating a number of games and then execute our best when the best RNG is met. In this section, we will see how to increase the chance of picking up power block given very few pieces of information we have.
We already have some documented data as explained in the instruction page, one of the important thing is the length of interval to wait for the next power block (Tab. 7 of the introduction page). At Level 0, a power block will show up whenever more than 1,200F (20.00s) elapsed, but the wait is shortened according to the maximum height of the center six columns. Now see Fig. 1 and you will see the wait is reduced by 300F (5.00s) when at least one of green cells is filled, by 600F (10.00s) in the same case of yellow cells, and by 900F (15.00s) in the case of red cells as well. Additionally, when the music changes to BGM2 when you are at the brink of topping out, it means one of the red zone is filled. But please note that the seven gray cells (which are inside of the red area and grants the bonus timer reduction) are the point of potential topout (especially the point of row 20 column 5 is vulnerable to every tetrimino), the 17 red cells in Fig. 1 are virtually possible place to occupy.
From my observations, the threshold of the timer becomes longer as the level progresses, but the reduction time by the zone explained above seems constant throughout every level. As the author played a number of games, it seems the threshold timer keeps its initial value at least until Level 9 (with minimum interval of 5 seconds). Even the author had reached Level 99 very few times, but some of the recorded games imply that the maximum length of the powre block timer threshold is estimated to be 7,500F (2 minutes 5 seconds). Though we are not sure if this is correct unless further researches are done, it sounds plausible enough that is why we have to wait around 100 pieces for another power block.
The reduction of waiting time to pick power blocks more frequently is a key to play better. At the beginning of the game, you would wait for Flicky while manipulate your playfield caring not to place 4 Lines at the same row as Flicky or activate other power blocks. If you could activate Flicky at the very low level, you could clean up the whole playfield even when the playfield is messy. It is important to manage to activate Flicky even by blocking the activation of other power blocks by creating holes in the row those power blocks belong to.
During the late game, however, it is important to play slowly because you want to buy time to consider the moves of next pieces in a rough situation under the 2G gravity (from Level 50) and fastest garbage spawn (from Level 40). In this situation, there is no use holding the lever down to lock the piece faster no matter if you can dictate your current piece at right position and rotation, and you will prefer not to move the lever down or rather prefer to wait a moment and move it down to maintain the rhythm of the pace of stacking. (The author prefer the latter) By doing this, try to stall in order to pick a power block (little bit) faster, and play safe by maintaining low stack. But, a deluge of unfavorable pieces easily makes your playfield high, and that is why you have to learn how to navigate your pieces when the stack is getting dangerously higher.
Now let's see some theoretical stacking in the opening levels, especially until Level 9 where the threshold of power block timer is the least value. Stack the block until they reach the 17th row (touching the red zone in Fig. 1), make the surface of that row falt, and leave the long vaults on both sides. But at least, make one of the center six columns at row 17 if you just want to pick as many power blocks as possible. Fig. 2 illustates the typical playfield suitable to wait power blocks.
On the other hand, there are some "mediocre" ways of stacking we don't recommend: look at one example illustated as in Fig. 3. We tend to stack alike when you receive I-tetriminoes in a quick succession, but topping the stack with only one tip is not always a good way. In Fig. 3, the maximum height (of the center six columns, of course) is 16, so you must wait the garbage meter to fill (taking up to 594F (9.90s)), but you might suffer from the loss of precious time to stall in your current level. You may stack an additional piece with height 2 or less above the tip at column 4 at that case, but it will create a deep overhang and this could diminish the expected gains by Flicky power block. (If you have too many lines that cannot be immediately completed by Flicky, at the worst case, you might fail to dig up those lines.)
Making a overhang for slide (tuck) and/or twist (spin) are very useful in Bloxeed as well as other Tetris variants. How about the placement of S-tetrimino in Fig. 4? You can see some moves to create a solvable overhang according to what piece comes next. But how about other pieces not in the fumen for Fig. 4? For example, If you get a J piece as the next piece, you have a deep J(-or-I) dependent hole and you want to insert the J into the hole, but then you don't need an I piece for the hole, so you may set up a VITS (a term stands for Vertical I-Tuck Setup) for a (possibly) superfluous I piece. This kind of overhang setup requires a flexible skill of pattern recognition; here plays a judgment of what piece can (or cannot) be usable to fill the overhang. When you are dealing with a right well, pieces like L, J, S, O or I are good candidate for overhang filling, but T and Z can do well with a larger overhang.
The high playfield setup exemplified above has advantages but it also has some drawbacks. To challenge for most lines, you should bear them in mind.
The last two drawback will be the virtual risks of playing an aggressive scoring in Bloxeed. On playing Tetris variants with Sega Rotation(https://tetris.wiki/Sega_Rotation), piling up the center is very effective maneuver, but you should care about the bumpiness of the center four columns. Otherwise, the bumps in the stack block your pieces (We will explore typical examples later). To place your pieces rotating as you want, keep the height of column 4, 5 and 6.
Also, you cannot refuse the delay of garbage pattern as you want to stack high at the beginning of the game, but you can play the midgame slowly by not moving levers down after Level 15, or by stepping a piece downward in order to extend lock delay. You don't want to receive garbage lines until Level 10 (for maximizing the amount of power blocks), and you have to gain lines quickly during Level 11-14, where the level timer is halved to 29 seconds. Thus, the stalling for garbages is useful from Level 15 (at there the level timer comes back to 59 seconds), and control the garbage pattern, looking far ahead into the further upcoming levels.
The high placement can be dangerous even under very low levels. Players who have been accustomed with Sega Tetris knows how to deal with the situation when the stack is high, and this skill is transferable to Bloxeed which has additional factors of garbage lines and double speed.
First off, you must learn which points in the matrix are lethal. We already observed the lethal points in Fig. 1 illustrated above (7 gray cells), but there are more points that bar passages of pieces. For familiar examples, you can easily find row 18 column 3 and 8 are preventing the rotation of J/Z pieces and L/S pieces, respectively. (Fig. 5) This is because of the rule from Sega Tetris that the current piece cannot be rotated by buttons if it is touching the ceiling. If the row 18 column 1-2 or 9-10 are blocked as well, you cannot even clear a line by T or O piece as a quick fix, meaning you will immediately top out unless you can clear that row. On the contrary, you have a chance of recovery when you can such a quick fix. Stare at the next queue and think the possibility of downstack and sometimes your effort might be rewarded in one in hundreds of times.
Next, take a look at Fig. 6 which illustrates the lethal points for I piece. The points of row 17 column 3 and 9 are the obstacles when you want to make the I piece stand up. When you try to rotate an I piece under the Sega Rotation circumstance, you need a space with height of 2 and width of 3 (in case of the left well) or 2 (right well), but you cannot rotate a piece when the piece touches the ceiling and you must clean up the 17th row of the specific column you want to rotate the I piece laid flat at 19th row. This right-inclined preference of I piece rotation urges you to make a right well in Tetris, but it is a different story when you play Bloxeed where garbage lines lets you make a left well or even a center well. If you are playing with a left well, a J piece have more importance because you can take triple with it by rotating it only once that is a quick and strong move. Also, you have to open one more column to deliver an I piece straight to the left well. On the other hand, if you play with a right well, it is easier to set up a space for I piece rotation than left well, but an L piece is harder to play because it requires three buttons (regularly hitting A, B, A buttons rapidly) to insert the well to take up to triple. Three times of button mashing require precision in a high gravity and a single misplacement often causes a topout, so this operation is extremely difficult. The playfield in the game tends to become a pyramid-like structure, so it is good way to maintain the stack so that you can navigate your pieces to either side you want.
Of course, you should learn situations at higher levels; you might experience cases where the next piece stuck into the surface of the tall stack (intentionally for power block frequency, or accidentally by the rapid garbage spawn at Level 40 and beyond). In such situations, making column 4, 5 and 6 flat and keep these column the highest position of the stack, like a tableland, generally leads a better consequence. If the tip of the tableland is jagged, some pieces got stuck in a hole in the top of the table. The boards in Fig. 7 are the cases that you cannot clear lines with the given piece because of the projection (colored in red) blocks the way. Similar situations can be observed often at Level 9, and Level 15 and beyond. The cell of projection that lets your piece stuck is located at 18th row under 1G gravity, but at the double speed from Level 50, the projection at 17th row hinders these pieces, one row less than before Level 50.
When you encounter the situation like those boards in Fig. 7, you must move these pieces toward the opposite direction you want to, but don't give up and fight to the end as you have a chance to receive another piece to save your life. Tetris's unique behaviors of piece encourage you to make a flat area and rotate your piece on it to fit the gap or set up for next pieces. Learning these behaviors and use it at the last stand, you sometimes manage to earn more lines before topping out. Not only that, you can even secure the safety from a devastating situation if the future piece sequences and power blocks are what you desperately need. Whenever a faint hope of the turnaround is rewarded, it might work as a burst of adrenaline in Bloxeed, one of the most violent Tetris franchise.
Sometimes a weirdness of Sega Rotation will cause a trouble: One striking case is where the triple spin of a T piece is not possible under certain circumstances, illustrated as in Fig. 8 (possible) vs. in Fig. 9 (impossible). Provided the gravity is sufficiently fast, you can make double with the T piece in Fig. 8 while it is never possible in Fig. 9. What is the difference? In both cases, you cannot rotate the T piece at its initial spawning position because it touches the ceiling, so you must move it to the either end. In Fig. 8, you have a flattend place to rotate the T piece twice where it is columns 7 through 9. After flipping the T piece upside down, it's easy to navigate it to the right well to take double. On the other hand, The board in Fig. 9 has no flat place anywhere which is required to flip the T piece upside down, since the stairwells sloping to the right prevent you from rotating it twice. In Fig. 9, do not hit a button to rotate the T piece, otherwise it cannot be rotated anymore and the rotated T piece yields a troublesome surface of the stack. The best possible move in Fig. 9 will be a move to the left end without rotations (an I-flat burn is obvious; L cannot move to the right so it should be placed at the left side; a J is comfortable to the right end with one rotation; S and Z pieces are also not bad if you could skim the 17th row; another T might be troublesome but moving it to the right 3 times and you could wait for a J piece; an O is obviously safe at the left edge without creating another hole). If you are at the brink of topout, the next piece is near the surface of the stack, so think carefully and try to find a row which is easy to complete a line.
The last piece you should care about is an L piece. Its counterpart, a J piece, can take a triple with only one rotation and when you can rotate it twice, it can be rotated once more regardless of the surface it is touching. However, an L piece requires triple flip to rotate to the form to take double, and the previous form (3 cells touching the surface) needs a hole at the designated position to rotate once more. The garbage lines with a simple L-shaped hole as seen in Fig. 10 is the safest surface to navigate the L piece to take triple even under 2G gravity. Therefore, rotating pieces with 4 different forms (L, J, T) can be executable when you have a flat surface on which you rotate them. This is why we are urged to make flat and high center columns which maximizes the piece maneuverability of Sega Rotation. Then look at Fig. 11 and the frame-by-frame illustrations in its fumen; given this board it is very risky move to put the next L piece in the right well in 2G gravity (even though it might be possible in 1G). You cannot fit the L piece to the right well if you could not rotate it three times because an L piece rotated twice will be stuck at the right side when it is already landed, consequently resulting in an awful misdrop. You can hang this L piece at the columns 5 and 6 (as in 7th slide of the fumen for Fig. 11) rather than dare to take such a risk to fill the right well. (Even if you could clear with double in a similar stack, you had to clean up the tip of the remnant of the L piece, so filling the right well with it would not be your top priority for downstacking and/or scoring.)
We have been explored the very powerful strategy of "making a tableland with flat center columns at the highest row". but you should keep in mind that it is not an almighty strategy. As mentioned before, creating the tableland means that you will accept a higher and riskier stack. If you build it too slowly, you receive more garbage lines to downstack, and you cannot endure without downstacking the garbage. To dig down your stack, remember the position of garbage patterns and find what comes next; downstacking the center well (the last 8 lines of garbages) under 2G is especially difficult to execute because you have to clean up both side of chunks divided by the center well, and eventually you need more button to press to maintain a clean board of both of those chunks (keep in mind that hitting buttons multiple times while moving the lever are very difficult operation under the late game). This section covers just a small part of techniques focusing some of frequently encountering situations, but the author hopes this gives you an additional insight to explore your skillset further.
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 pic.twitter.com/x7v1qv3IjMNovember 9, 2021
今日も調子が終わっているので、動画を撮る。まずは、Flickyで作られたラインの消去判定は、ブロックの落下が必要という話。 #Bloxeed pic.twitter.com/eoJ7ju1tyJFebruary 10, 2022
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.
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.
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 pic.twitter.com/X3v8qTWurNApril 29, 2020
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 https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm10007315 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.