LYNX: Blockout

From: Robert Jung (ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/23/91-11:07:00 PM Z

From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Blockout
Date: Tue Jul 23 23:07:00 1991

  Drive home. Call the net. Hear that BLOCKOUT is available. Pester the
dealer. Get a copy. Play the game. Write a review. Fun, yes?

1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp. for the Atari Lynx

  Based on the original computer game by California Dreams, BLOCKOUT for
the Atari Lynx is clearly inspired by TETRIS. As in TETRIS, the object is to
rotate and position oddly-shaped blocks into a pit, dropping them so that
the pieces interlock. When a level is filled, the blocks in it are removed,
giving more space for more pieces. The longer the game lasts, the faster
pieces fall, until there's no room left to maneuver.

  BLOCKOUT differs from TETRIS, though, by using all three dimensions.
Pieces can be rotated around all three axes, the pit can be of variable
size and depth, and the pieces can come in very strange shapes. Naturally,
all these features add to the complexity and challenge.

  As in the original BLOCKOUT, emphasis is placed on gameplay over frills.
The game screen is non-nonsense, showing the pit, its contents, and the
current piece to be placed. A level indicator color-matches the layers in
the pit, and shows the depth of the current piece. Your score, the high
score for the current setup, the game settings and difficulty are also
shown. Points are scored based on the shape of the pieces and the height
they're dropped from.

  BLOCKOUT is very friendly and playable, one of those games that takes
30 seconds to learn and a long time to put down. The only hitch is in the
controls; X and Y rotations can be done in any direction, but Z rotations
can only be counterclockwise. Still, this is a minor nuisance, and the game
is still fun regardless.

  Several options let you customize the game. The pit size and rotation
speed of the pieces are selectable, and sounds can be toggled. Blocks can be
either flat, simple 3D, or a manic extended collection. Finally, you can
start playing from any of 10 speeds, though the longer you play, the faster
it gets. A practice mode, game demo and controls screen makes learning

  Graphics in BLOCKOUT are appealing, though minimal. The colors and
graphics are distinctive enough to let you know what's happening at a
glance, and watching the wire-frame pieces rotate is nice. Except for a
little music between games, the sound may as well be turned off.

  This is a nice, addictive, no-nonsense strategy game. Without any
patterns to memorize and several options to choose from, BLOCKOUT will keep
its freshness for quite some time. If you thought TETRIS was too simple,
give this title a try.

                GAMEPLAY:        8.5
                GRAPHICS:        7.5
                SOUND:           7
                OVERALL:         8

          Rating values  10 - 8   Great! A value at the regular price.
                          7 - 5   Good. Buy if you're interested
                                     or if it's discounted.
                          4 - 2   Poor. For die-hards only.
                              1   Ick. Shoot it, please.


  (Minor gripe -- I hope the combination poster/instruction manual is not
the new Lynx standard. I want a book to flip through...)


Send whatevers to | If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+----------------------------Lynx me up!
       "If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway."

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