I taut I saw puddy cat. I did, I did. Too right you did mate. You saw lots of different coloured ones in this excellent Tetris clone.
etris fans – all your birthdays have come at once. And even if you are not a Tetris fan you will be one after a few bouts on this game. Minskies Furballs is one excellent Tetris clone. Even the NMS boys )who we share an office with) seemed a little bit impressed by it and kept muttering something about Kirby’s Avalanche on the SNES.
Choose your weapons
It is bright, it is colourful and it is easy to play. All you have got to do is manipulate the oncoming coloured blocks (little puddy cats called gerbils) into matching groups of four or more. Each time you do this you send a fish symbol or little grey blocks down on your opponent’s side mucking up their arrangements so they have got to get rid of them.
As well as grouping your blocks together you have got a variety of weapons at your disposal. There are three offensive weapons and three defensive ones. A red bar at the bottom increases as you progress through the game and so does your weapon status. Weapons begin with the bomb and then go on to items such as phaser, avalanche and shield. To select one just push up and fire. Getting rid of the grey blocks is the main way to get any weapon and it will flash up on screen which one you have currently got. Bombs are handy for getting yourself out of trouble and freeing up some space. I am disappointed though, that there is not a way to send a bomb over to your opponent so you could mess up their game.
That gripe aside, control is easy enough, press down on the joystick to speed up the blocks, up to select weapons and left and right to move the blocks around. Likewise on the keyboard use left and cursor keys to move either way, right Amiga and right Alt to rotate the blocks.
Some of the weapon selection is also a bit hit and miss though. When you select a bomb it is quite straightforward – target appears and you get a countdown of five to select the part you want to obliterate. The phaser weapon which blitzes in straight lines, is harder to find. It seems to be slightly off screen so a bit of guesswork is needed here.
A bit of a character
There are eleven tables in all to complete and each table has its own figurehead. This does not really affect the game much but adds a bit of variety to the levels. The one with the three bears is a bit strange and offputting as the little picture of the bears keeps zooming in and out for some unexplained reason. This is a bit hard on the eyes.
The avalanche weapons that your opponent sends your way every now and then does not help your eyesight either as it shakes the screen around vigorously for a few minutes. In addition, on some levels, the background graphics blurs in a bit too much with the blocks. I found myself missing connections because it could not make out some of the coloured blocks.
In two-player mode, confusingly called multiplayer, however you only have one table to play on. There is a choice of three, five and nine bouts and you can also alter each player’s skill level. The two-player game is a bit tricky as the skill level for player two seems stuck at ultra fast mode. However, Andrew Jollie from Binary Emotions said that this problem will be corrected by the time of press.
Despite this you can get through Minskies quite easily if you set your mind to it. But there is enough of a decent game in there to make you want to go back to it time and time again. I love it. At £19.99 it is a bargain especially when there is an ECS version included. This is almost identical to the AGA version and only suffers a slight loss of quality in the graphics department. Once the two-player mode is sorted it will be a worthy purchase indeed.
CU Amiga, February 1997, p.p.36-37