Sam Coupe Scrapbook

The Games
- Review of Astroball

Information provided by: Graham Goring

Balor Knight seems very good at writing simple but immensely playable games. You only have to look at Dyzonium (formerly the artist known as Plasmoid) to see this.

In Astroball you have the simple task of bouncing around a scrolling world from platform to platform, collecting the required number of coins, and then getting to the exit (normally near the top of the level). The bottom of the map is deadly to the touch (unless you have the invincible bonus) and so are the spikes that litter some levels.

Also, some platforms have the unhealthy habit of flicking in and out of existance, quite often leaving you to plummet to a messy death below. So timing is of the essence in this game, especially since the bonuses flick between 4 states quite rapidly, and some levels may become impossible (impassible) if you collect the bonus in the wrong state.

So, the game is simple, but it is also deceptively hard, and some levels will require tens of tries before you can pass them, and it's here that Balor has made his fatal mistake. Instead of giving you, say, 3 continues, he opted for infinite. This means that with a bit of patience you will complete the game first time you load it up (I did), and this means you probably won't come back to it.

This is an awful pity, as I can honestly say it is THE most addictive game I have EVER played. And a bit more thought would have meant that instead of relying on people to be self-restricting when it came to continues, the players would have been forced to start again at regular points.

Again, a typical case of rushing the game out so that early SAM owners had something they could play.

Graphics       71% - Simple and uninspired. But it doesn't matter, as they work.
Addictivity    95% - Totally absorbing.
Instant Appeal 95% - Hoists you up by your pants and breathes 'play me' softly
                     into your ear.
Sound          65% - Blip-blop. Big wow...
Overall        87% - Why only 87%? Because of the blimmin' infinite continues!

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