Imagine the scene. You've just been given the world's biggest bathroom, and you've got to re-tile it. Just imagine! A bathroom five miles across! Luckily the tiles are one mile across, which makes the task a little easier. Wouldn't it be a great idea for a game? Well, Klax isn't quite a Universal re-decoration program, but it does involve chucking around large amounts of brightly coloured tiles.
The tiles in question have nothing better to do than run down a big conveyor belt and drop into nothingness. Being the tidy minded paddle (yes, paddle) that you are, you have decided that instead of wasting countless tiles, you're going to make patterns out of them. Oddly enough, as you form patterns, you discover that the tiles vanish! Wow! What a fun thing to happen!
This is all quite good clean fun at first. Things don't start too badly. Whoever it is sending these tiles down the belt is quite happy to let you off with just forming three klaxs to escape the first level. A klax is three tiles of the same colour in a row. The playing area is a catchment pit five tiles wide by five deep. Tiles must be caught on the paddle and flipped down into the pit, to land in formation as you see fit.
The easiest form of line is the three in a vertical row. This awards a mere fifty points. Three in a row horizontally grants 1,000; a diagonal 5,000. There are bonuses for multiple klaxs, and a big X grants you untold points. It is very difficult to get though. Generally speaking, the harder the pattern the better the score for achieving it is. Later screens set you harder targets, like a points total, diagonals only or worse!
The tiles come in about eight colours. This is often a problem, as the colour you want invariably doesn't show up for ages, by which time your strategy has flown right out of the window. The paddle can hold up to five tiles itself as well as the twenty-five in the pit. Occasionally a multi-coloured tile appears. This is a wild tile and will complete any near finished klaxs as if it were the colour that you needed. They need to be used with caution however, as they can mess up a carefully contrived plan.
The graphics are crisp and sharp, as you'd expect from a conversion from the arcade machine, and the sound effects are sampled directly from the original. Consequently, they are very good indeed, including a round of applause for completing the level and a gasp of admiration for some of the more difficult tricks. Yells of anguish accompany a dropped tile.
The game just has to be played to be believed. It is just so addictive - one of those infuriating games that keeps you coming back for just another twelve hour session. Very simple in principle but hard to master, it is a sure-fire winner. Great stuff.
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