13/10/2016

Klax

Get three in a row... DIAGONALLY!




Not once have I come across Klax in my gaming history. I hadn't heard of it, it didn't ring any bells upon seeing some screenshots, it was completely new to me. It looked like a simple little puzzle game, though, so I didn't think I'd be in for a difficult time.




Fun Times


The object of Klax is to collect a bunch of blocks falling off a conveyor belt and deposit them wherever you need them into a grid below you, where groups of blocks of the same colour score you points, with bonuses for going above and beyond the level target or managing to group more blocks together than needed.

It's simple to follow along with, even if you don't have a clue what the best strategy is. I was playing the Sega Mega Drive port and can see no immediate difference between it and the arcade original - the core gameplay is certainly there (hard to get it wrong) and the visual fluff that make up the various stage backgrounds aren't a player's focus during the game anyway, so they're perfectly presentable here.

There are 100 stages, but they can be skipped in blocks of 5 or 10, depending on how well you do and how confident you are.




Frustrations


It's a fine game, but there is one little irk that I kept falling into, and that is that you must catch a block falling off the conveyor belt, even if it appears to be falling in line with where you want it to go. If like me, you thought "I don't need to go over there, I'll catch this block instead", well, you're wrong. Like Pok√©mon, you gotta catch em all, or they'll fall right into the bin. Too many in the bin and it's Game Over for you.

You are able to catch multiple blocks, stacking them on top of each other before throwing them back up the conveyor belt or dropping them one by one into your grid as usual - remembering of course that the top of your stack will be dropped, not the bottom.




Final Word


For what it is, Klax isn't bad. It'll test out your reactions and forethought, your ability to adapt on the fly to your failures, but it is a little limiting and, for me, doesn't have anywhere near the longevity that its competitor had - that being Tetris.

Perhaps for that reason alone I probably won't see myself going back to it anytime soon. Not because it's bad, but because it isn't Tetris. Maybe that's unfair, but try it out yourself.


Fun Facts


A wedding proposal was coded into the Game Boy Color port, eventually discovered by the would-be bride three years later.

Klax, developed by Atari Games, first released in 1989.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1991, via emulation.