Klax logo

DOMARK £24.95 * Joystick or Keyboard

Frankly, it comes as a nice change to play a game in which you do not have to save the world from aliens, run about kicking seven shades out of baddies, or race round a maze collecting keys or pieces of puzzles. In Klax the only objective is to survive as long as possible and score points.

The game is very easy to play. A horizontal platform five lanes wide sits pointing towards you. Coloured tiles start at the end furthest away from you and roll towards you. There are five bins at the near end of the platform that the tiles fall into. Each bin holds five tiles, but should all the bins fill up then you lose a life.

How do you stop them filling up? You cannot really, but you can buy yourself time by using a small tile catcher at the end of the platform, which you can move left and right to catch tiles as they fall off. Then you can decide which tiles to drop in which bin by hitting a key and flipping them off the catcher into the bin. And here is the key to winning the game - any line of three or more tiles of the same colour, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally, makes a Klax. The Klaxed tiles then disappear, leaving more room for more tiles in the bin.

The game is played in waves, with a specific objective given for each wave. For example, you may just have to get three Klaxes, or score 10,000 points. The points system is based on difficulty. Anyone can get a vertical Klax, so you only get 50 points for each one. Horizontal Klaxes are harder, so score 1,000, while diagonal ones are harder still and score even more points. Once a wave is completed, points are awarded and you move onto the next wave.

That is basically it. Oh yes, the catcher at the end can hold up to five tiles at any one time, so you can organise Klaxes slightly more easily and you can also flip a tile half-way back up the platform to gain yourself a couple of seconds while you go for another tile. Any tile that falls off the end uncollected by the catcher scores one on the drop meter - once you have filled that up you lose a life. Plus, of course, the tiles speed up and more colours appear as you progress through the levels, making it even harder to get the particular Klax you are after.


The sound effects are nothing to shout about, but at least you know when your catcher is full and when you have made a Klax. The graphics are nothing special either, though the diminishing perspective is quite pleasing. The viewing angle does make it a little difficult to tell when a bin is full, for example but the thudding sound effect lets you know if you try to put more tiles in it.


A game to last for years. It is a 'quick 10 minutes' when you feel like it and it is also a 'good three hour session' when you have got time. A timeless game that you will come back to again and again.


Look at that! Right the way through the review and not a mention of Tetris! Comparisons have to be made simply because they are both very simple space-filling games that play remarkably well. Tetris is a slightly better game, but Klax gives it a damn good run for its money and it really should be in your library.

Knobeln vom Allerfeinsten

Klax logo Amiga Joker Hit

Frage: Was ist heutzutage selten wie ein viereckiges Ei? Antwort: Ein wirklich neues Spielprinzip. Und wenn das Game dann auch noch so viel Spass macht wie Domarks irre Tüftelei, dann ist ein neuer Stern am Software-Himmel aufgegangen!

Klax ist eine Premiere in mehrfacher Hinsicht: Zum ersten Mal in der Software-Historie wird ein Spiel praktisch zeitgleich (und eins zu eins!) in der Arcade- und Amiga-Version veröffentlicht. Und zum ersten Mal in der Joker-Historie erzählen wir Euch im Test praktisch nichts über das (geniale) Spielprinzip; das könnt Ihr alles ein paar Seiten in Coin Op nachlesen.

Beschränken wir uns also auf die Feinheiten: Ähnlich wie sein nächster Verwandter "Tetris", käme auch Klax theoretisch mit Strich-Grafik und ganz ohne Sound aus, trotzdem hat man sich hier einiges einfallen lassen.

So bekommt man seine Aufgaben (plus launige Kommentare) in der Original-Sprachausgabe des Automaten serviert, es gibt einen ansprechenden Titelsoundtrack und nette Effekte. Die Grafik erfüllt ihren Zweck, ist hübsch bunt und wartet zudem mit sechs verschiedenen Hintergründen wie Bäumen, einer Hand, Löchern etc. auf. Aber das Schönste ist natürlich dass dem Solisten der volle Schirm zur Verfügung steht, während im Zwei-Spieler-Modus auf einem Split-Screen parallel geklaxt wird!

Damit wäre eigentlich alles gesagt, außer vielleicht: Klax ist mit Sicherheit für die frühen 90er Jahre das, was "Tetris" für die späten 80er war - 99 Level voll wahnwitzigem Tüftel-Spaß, von denen man die Finger einfach nicht mehr lassen kann! (ml)

Klax logo CU Amiga Screen Star

PRICE: £24.99

The best arcade games have two vital qualities - they are simple and addictive. But that is a combination which has been rare of late. But find them and you have a winner.

Klax, the coin-op, has recently hit the arcades to rave reviews and Domark's conversion should not notch up a decent chart success too. Not a classic by any means, but by its very nature brilliance is something rare. First, the Klax facts. Coloured tiles flip down five tracks towards you. The idea is to intercept the tiles, catch them on your paddle and then toss them into the bins. Ideally, you drop them into horizontal rows, diagonal rows or rows of three. Make the required formation - called Klaxes - and this causes the blocks to flash and disappear, leaving extra space for you to fill and collect a higher score.

Dropped tiles are registered on the drop meter in the centre of the screen. Drop too many or should the bins become full, then the game is over.

The paddle which you control can hold a total of five tiles at once. In this way - providing your wits are about you - you can sort out the tiles, maximising the number of Klaxes. Try to catch more than five tiles on the paddle and the drop mater gets a pounding.

You can also use the trowbback option. Pushing the joystick forward enables you to flip tiles backwards - gaining a breathing space - before they resume their relentless downward procession. But be careful. You can only flip one tile at a time. If the tiles are coming thick and fast you end up like a juggler trying to keep all the tiles from falling. Watch out for the wild tiles. These flash as they tumble and can be stacked onto any two tiles of one colour and create a Klax.

Each wave of tiles has its own set of criteria to meet. For example, instead of collecting a stack of three tiles, they must be arranged diagonally. The more difficult formation you have to achieve, the better you score. And the better you play, the more the pace hots up, putting you into a proper flip flop flap. In the harder stages of the game you have to collect more than just three tiles to create a Klax. As with the coin-op, you can split the screen vertically allowing two players to meet head-to-head.

If you are a fan on the coin-op, you won't be disappointed with this conversion - solid graphics and sound. If you are new to Klax, you are in for a treat. While I would not claim Klax to be a classic game, it is, simply, addictive.

Klax logo Zzap! Sizzler

Domark/Tengen, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

'A night on the tiles' could soon have a new definition. No longer will it mean a spree of drinking and debauchery (shame! - Phil), but instead a night in playing one of the most addictive coin-op conversions ever. Klax's concept is simple: catch tiles as they approach and flip them into one of five bins to make rows of three or more of the same colour - Klaxes. When a Klax is made, the tiles disappear causing any tiles above to drop down - sometimes resulting in a chain reaction of Klaxes. Flashing 'wild' tiles can count as any colour and can even be used to simultaneously complete two or more Klaxes of different colours.

Fail to catch a tile and it will drop off-screen registering on your drop meter (sort of like lives). When this is full it'll cost you one of several continue-plays, as will overfilling all the bins with tiles - they can only hold five each. To ease the pressure, up to five tiles can be stacked onto your catching 'paddle' for later use.

The game comprises 100 tile waves. These must be completed in a particular way: either by scoring enough points, surviving a set number of tiles, or getting enough Klaxes (on some waves only horizontal or diagonal ones will do). At the start of the game, and after every five waves, a warp screen allows you to choose which of three levels to attempt next - harder levels have a larger drop meter (up to five drops allowed) and carry huge bonuses.

On certain levels getting a 'Big X' (two crossing diagonal rows of five!) will automatically warp you to a much later level.

The Amiga game boasts a two-player option which splits the screen vertically, allowing two Klaxers to play simultaneously and completely independently from each other.

Phil King This is even better (and, believe it or not, more addictive) than Tetris! As well as being far more visually exciting, it benefits from more varied gameplay with the different types of wave requiring vastly different tactics - horizontal and diagonal lines are particularly difficult to obtain. Despite the concept's simplicity, things are far from easy - especially when bins are almost full and you're frantically trying to get Klaxes to empty them. Somehow you have to simultaneously watch five bins of tiles, the approaching tiles, plus the ones on your paddle, and make an immediate decision on what to do! Things can get even more frustrating if a 'friend' is looking over your shoulder giving you 'help' so the continue-plays and choice of levels to warp to are welcome features.
The Amiga game isn't amazing technically (though it's virtually identical to the coin-op) but the simultaneous two-player mode is great fun, especially when you both compete for the highest score. However, it's the incredibly action that impresses and, on both machines, Klax is by far the best Tengen conversion yet. It's so easy to pick up and play (if you can put it down in the first place!), this is one game that definitely won't be gathering dust on a shelf in six months' time.
Robin Hogg As the title screen says, this is the 90s and hopefully Klax will show the way forward with its simple ideas and yet totally compelling gameplay. There's something fascinating and very satisfying about creating order from putting down blocks. Unlike clever dick Phil I have enough problems coping with Diagonal Klax waves without contemplating constructing a Big X Klax, but Klax is immense fun to play with a skill level and learning curve for all types of player. It's a great game to just pick up and play but I found it very difficult to pull myself away from it to write this comment: 'rather an addictive game' is an understatement. Sure, the graphics aren't awesome but they're well drawn and serve their purpose. The 'klacking' sound effects also work well, creating an atmosphere of panic. On the C64 it suffers somewhat in graphic detail but at least it plays as good as its 16-bit counterpart and that's what counts.
Scorelord Of the two versions, the C64 is marginally the more impressive with it all crammed into a single load. The graphics aren't astounding, but there's several different backgrounds and the tiles move well. At the start of a level the tiles only come one at a time, the C64 can't vary speed and numbers as smoothly as the Amiga, but pulling down on the joystick speeds them up very nicely. But watch out! After a couple dozen tiles things are soon moving at a cracking pace. Now you'll need to start chucking tiles back as the speed rivals anything seen on the Amiga. And while simply getting vertical Klaxes causes stress, but on later levels you need horizontal Klaxes, diagonals and so on. Then there are warps to activate, all of which makes what seems a very simple idea, in practice complex and extremely addictive.
The Amiga version doesn't push the host machine as much as the C64. The tunes are banal, although there is some speech, and the graphics could've been better - the restricted ST palette is again in evidence. But 16-bit power ensures a smoother progression from the easy start levels to the manic overload later on. There's also a very nice simultaneous two player option (although it makes no sense for the continue-plays to be shared) and a price tag of just £20. All in all, two extremely playable conversions of one of the most playable coin-ops around. The only serious flaw I can see is that the miserable Phil creature has so much luck with it. Trying to keep up with him in two-player mode fairly made the old optical circuits water, but I'm sure some reader will be able to beat his high score soon enough. Highly recommended.