The Psygnosis warehouse clearance continues. It's hard to move round a computer shop without tripping over teetering piles of Psygnosis titles, at the knockdown, never-to-be-repeated price of one of your Earth tenners - Walker, Armour Geddon 2, etc. And this landslide of back catalogue stuff comes a new game, X-It, which used to be called Zonked! and is so obscure a title, that when I got stuck and phoned up the Psygnosis help line, the guy denied the existence of the game and then went on to say that even if it has been released, it certainly wasn't one of theirs. Well it does, and it is. You know the game called Sokoban. In it, you're presented with some coloured blocks and floor tiles. Against the clock, you push the blocks around until each block is on top of the corresponding coloured tile, making sure you don't push the blocks into corners where you can't move them - my point to all this being, see that Sokoban? That's X-It, that is.
Well, it is and it isn't, for although the basic idea's exactly the same, X-It's far cleverer and feature-packederer than Soko Ban. This time you don't have to push blocks onto coloured tiles, you have to push them into holes so you can get to the exit. As well as singles some blocks are stacked on top of each other, the catch being (this is after all a puzzle game) that you can only push two at a time. These could be two single blocks, or a single stack of two but certainly not the stacks of three, which can only be moved by attaching wheels to them. And then once you've got them going, icy patches send them slithering off, or ice blocks melt before you need them or you have to teleport somewhere first. And soon.
Starting from the first tew Soko Ban-esque learner levels, X-It cranks up the number of objects and the complexity of each across a hundred and odd levels. To avoid you getting stuck fast, you can enter the game at every fifteenth level, and compared with some of the horrendous level codes of recent times the ones in X-It are merciful keyboard-typeable six digit codes.
Playing the game directs your swearing mostly where it belongs (the puzzles) and not at stupid problems or disk accessing, and much fun was had alternately cursing when I was stuck and punching the air in righteous jubilation when I cracked a level.
The problems? Well, lives - do you need or want lives in puzzle games? Isn't being stuck on a level punishment enough, without all the added stress (and disk accessing) of returning to the menu to type in a code every five attempts? And why're all the characters tiny and the playing area only about 15% ol the screen? Surely some mistake? The time allowances are a bit strict too, leaving no margin for you to make a couple of mistakes and just scrape in. And the music's crap, and plays in the menus even after you've turned it off. But, hey, small problems in a rather endearing puzzler.
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