Tag Archives: puzzle game

Atari A to Z: Quadromania XL

It’s another “mystery game” today!

Quadromania XL appears to have originated as a type-in listing for a German Atari magazine, but beyond that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there online aside from the name of its creator — one T Meyer — and the person in charge of Loesungsalgorithmus (“solution algorithm”, apparently), A Blohm.

It’s a simple but enjoyable puzzler based on a straightforward concept: pick a block to swap the colour of, and all the blocks surrounding it will also swap colours. Repeat until the whole screen is one colour or you run out of moves. Easy, right?

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #2

Minigolf is, to borrow a phrase from a completely different sport, a funny old game.

Typically implied to be a rather silly, chaotic affair rather than something to be taken seriously, your average minigolf course nonetheless tends to include a variety of fiendish obstacles to negotiate, many of which will tax even the most skilled putters among us.

Kirby’s Dream Course, being a minigolf game that takes place entirely in a digitally rendered dreamworld, is free to do even more ridiculous things with its course design than would be possible in reality. And herein lies its main appeal.

Continue reading Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #2

Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #1

During my exploration of Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Kirby game other than, well, the unexpected.

I was expecting at least some of the games in the series to be relatively conventional platform games — and I know they’re there somewhere! — but the next one I happened to alight upon, courtesy of the SNES Mini’s built-in lineup of games, was Kirby’s Dream Course.

I had no set expectations for what Kirby’s Dream Course was going to be before firing it up for the first time. But I can tell you I didn’t expect it to be a thoroughly charming minigolf game!

Continue reading Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #1

Atari A to Z Flashback: Maze Invaders

This one’s a cool addition to the Atari Flashback Classics collection: a “lost” game from the Atari archives.

Maze Invaders sadly never saw an official release either as an arcade machine or a home port, languishing in the archives until recently. The International Centre for the History of Electronic Games managed to acquire a whole bunch of old Atari goodies back in 2014, and part of that heap of fun times was Maze Invaders.

It’s kind of surprising this never got an official release for one reason or another; it’s a really interesting, unusual and highly addictive game with a ton of personality to it!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Boom Boom Rocket: Classical (Exploding) Gas

Quick! Name three Bizarre Creations games! GO!

If your entire list consisted of Project Gotham Racing games, you just about scrape a passing grade. If you remembered to mention Metropolis Street Racer, take five bonus marks. Including any Geometry Wars games in there (except Geometry Wars 3, which wasn’t them) gets you an additional five marks. Remembering The Club exists gets you a gold star — and hold that thought, we’ll definitely come back to that one.

If Boom Boom Rocket was anywhere in your list, however, you get exclusive membership into the Cool People Club. Benefits include never being able to get a small selection of classical music out of your head, the constant desire to tap your foot any time you see a fireworks display, and optional free hugs. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on…

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Atari ST A to Z: Castle Master

The “Freescape” games released by Incentive Software were all rather interesting for a variety of reasons.

Most notably, they represented some of the earliest examples of a multi-purpose, cross-platform 3D engine at work — Freescape was so flexible that it would run on everything from the ZX Spectrum up to Atari ST, Amiga and MS-DOS PC, though obviously with some limitations on the less powerful platforms!

Castle Master was one of the last Freescape games to be released on 16-bit platforms, and it’s also one of the most mysterious and intriguing. Let’s go for a little explore, shall we?

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

OMG Zombies: In The Middle of a Chain Reaction

Prejudice is an ugly thing, but it’s important to acknowledge it when you allow it to affect you.

Consequently, dear reader, I don’t mind admitting that when I was presented with the opportunity to take a look at a new Switch game called OMG Zombies that, at its launch, cost just 99p (it’s now £3.99 after the initial discount) I was… shall we say, a little skeptical about whether or not this would be a worthwhile experience.

Internet slang in the title? Check. Use of zombies, arguably the most overused foe in all of video gaming history? Check. A distinctly “mobile-tier” price point? Check. This game would certainly have an uphill struggle to impress me.

Continue reading OMG Zombies: In The Middle of a Chain Reaction

Atari ST A to Z: Batman – The Movie

A well-known name in the 16-bit home computer era here in Europe was Ocean Software.

Ocean had many strings to their bow, but one of their most reliable sources of income was movie tie-in games, many of which drew criticism for being somewhat derivative and unimaginative platform games, but which sold well regardless. A good example of a game where they tried something a little bit different from the usual formula was Batman: The Movie.

That said, the opening stage is a platform game, and is so monstrously difficult I’d be surprised if everyone saw the other things the game had to offer without making use of the cheat mode… I know I certainly didn’t!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Airball

There are some games in which it feels absolutely impossible to get anywhere meaningful… but where you still feel you’re having a good time regardless.

One such example is Airball for the Atari ST, a strange isometric adventure in which you play an unfortunate young individual who crossed paths with an evil wizard with a penchant for turning people into rubber balls.

Can you escape from the wizard’s mansion? It has over 150 rooms, you know…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z: Yoomp

Although the Atari 8-bit range of computers mostly lost what little “mainstream” relevance they had with the onset of the 16-bit era — which, in turn, was killed off by the widespread adoption of standardised MS-DOS and Windows PCs — there are a few dedicated developers out there still plugging away at this old hardware.

The results these modern maestros can get out of ancient computers can be, at times, absolutely astonishing. Some form part of what is known as the “demoscene”, producing audible and graphical showcases that push the hardware to its absolute limits. Others take that extra step and add true interactivity, making actual games with impressive visuals and sounds to show what they’re really capable of.

Yoomp from 2007 is an example of the latter. It makes use of some clever graphical techniques, fully optimised for both PAL and NTSC displays, and some delightfully catchy, toe-tapping music courtesy of the Atari’s trusty POKEY chip. If you’d like to find out more about this game — and download it for free to try for yourself — check out the official website here.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.