Puzznic logo

Supplier: Ocean Price: £24.95

Transportation plays a major part in this Ocean puzzle game. As with all games of this type, there is a time factor involved. In Puzznic there's a count-down while you struggle to match up blocks of the same colour or pattern. When two or more likewise blocks rest adjacent, either vertically or horizontally, they all flash and disappear. The object of Puzznic is therefore to remove all the blocks from the screen by careful manoeuvring.

The game does need real care, since you can only move your blocks sideways. To get them to go down just push them over an edge and gravity takes its course. With only two of each type of brick it is simplicity itself to sort out a screen.

Where it starts to get tricky is when there are three blocks, and two are very near each other. Remove those two, whether by design or accident, and you're scuppered, with one block remaining.

Puzznic doesn't boast great graphics or sound, but after a couple of screens it becomes fiendishly clever, requiring more and more forethought before you continue playing. Thumbs up time as this is a refreshing alternative to Tetris, Welltris at all.


Puzznic logo

Ocean £24.99 * Joystick

After their conversion of the cutesy- arcade Plotting, Ocean have released an Amiga version of another Taito coin-op in the form of Puzznic. As with most puzzle games there is no plot to speak of - the game is just a straight out-and-out brain-taxer.

New Blocks For The Kids
The point of the game is to put together matching blocks so that they explode; they are then removed from the level. This simple idea starts off easily enough, with simple formations consisting of pairs of blocks. All you have to do is slide them together and bingo, a nice clear level.

The problems start when you need to destroy blocks of three at a time and work out how to bridge gaps with other blocks. Still with me? No? Well then just follow the example at the bottom of the page.

Puzznic

The first thing to do on this screen is get the three red circles together, so drop the first one on the grey pentagon to the left of the moving block.

Puzznic

Now protect the red circle by placing the black square over it.

Puzznic

Pull the next red circle off the moving platform (being careful not to let it go down past the other circle) over the square to make the three.

Puzznic

Use the moving block to pull the purple cube and yellow block over to the left.

Puzznic

Now it's just a matter of clearing off the odd pairs...

Puzznic

...and you have a nice clear level.


PUZZNIC - THE CHALLENGE
We thought it would be a bood idea to get some real celebrities to have a play-off of this challenging puzzle game. So who would be the most apt people to ask? We invited the renowned genius Albert Einstein and master cubist Pablo Picasso to test their abilities at block manoeuvring. Unfortunately, it appears that they're both dead, so that's that sketch knackered.

Puzznic logo Zzap! Sizzler

Ocean, C64 £9.99 cassette; £14.99 disk, Amiga £24.99

After Plotting comes another blocky puzzle game from Taito/Ocean. Once again the aim is getting rid of tiles by bringing identical ones together.

On each level there's an assortment of tiles which can be moved about by placing a cursor on them, pushing in the direction you want them to move, and pressing fire. Unlike Atomix, there's gravity, so tiles can't be moved upwards - unless there's a lift to take them up.

On the first few levels the tiles come in even numbers, so it's fairly easy to progress by bringing pairs of tiles together. But things soon get complicated when you have odd numbers of tiles: bringing three tiles together simultaneously can take a lot of ingenuity!

There are no less than 144 levels in Puzznic, split into 36 stages laid out like a tree - completing a stage allows you to attempt either of the two branching out from it. In the coin-op you can choose to start on any of the stages on the first two rows, but now you can start on any of the first five rows!

Once you begin playing you have two resets, which restore everything on the level except time to its start position - useful if you have messed things up completely. Once the resets are used up you can only wait for time to run out. Then you can use one of five continue-plays.


Robin Hogg Puzznic's early levels are misleading in their simplicity and only when you get to the second row do the fiendish possibilities become obvious. Cleverly the game pulls you slowly into its grasp until escape is impossible! You have to keep playing - this is as compulsive a game as I've played all year. While 144 screens and several different ways of playing provide a big challenge.
The main requirement of the graphics is that they're fast and clear, and both version succeed in this. Unlike Plotting there's no background graphics to provide visual variety, but the tiles have an attractive animated sheen which is particularly nice on the C64. In fact the C64 comes off best, the more restrained greyish palette working better than the slightly garish 16-bit graphics. But gameplay is the thing with Puzznic, and both versions excel in that.
Stuart Wynne This Taito coin-op seems almost designed for home play - it's easy to while away the hours pondering what can be truly brain-bending problems. The graphics are functional and cleanly laid out with well used colours and a neat sheen effect on the C64. The Amiga game is graphically disappointing but at least there are some great sonics. Mind you, the graphics don't matter much, as Puzznic has some very addictive gameplay. It's nice the way you're introduced to new elements and new objects to manipulate with each new screen; the select-your-path feature is another well thought-out idea. Overall superb!