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Zeppelin * £7.99

Basically a variation on the Tetris/Columns genre. You control sets of traffic symbols as tey drop from the top of the grid. The idea is to form lines of three or more matching symbols running vertically, horizontally or even diagonally.

Forming rows of four symbols counts as two lines, making it easier to reach the target. Later levels feature more hazardous obstacles, such as randomly generating blocks that fill the empty gaps on the grid.

As you would expect from this type of game, the actual gameplay is extremely simple. Despite this, the going is pretty good fuyn and you'll soon find that it's strangely addictive - more so than many full-priced games. At the budget price of less than eight quid it's wel worth any puzzle game fans having a look.


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Als "ultimatives Arcadegame" wird dieses Low Cost Programm auf der Verpackung angepriesen - aber nicht überall, wo Arcadegame draufsteht, ist auch Arcadegame drin!

Fast ein Fall von Etikettenschwindel, denn hier handelt es sich um einen typischen Geschicklichkeitstest der Marke "Steinchen fallen von oben herab und müssen gestapelt werden".

Vorbild ist Segas Arcadeautomat "Columns", allerdings regnen bei Stack Up anstatt der Edelsteine Süßigkeiten (in Dreierblöcken) vom Bildschirm-Himmel.

Wie aus der Spielhalle gewohnt, werden die Leckereien nun mit dem Stick zu vertikalen oder horizontalen Dreierreihen gleicher Symbole sortiert, und schon sind sie futsch.

Also alles wie gehabt? Nicht ganz: Man darf ein bißchen üben und den Startlevel aussuchen, dafür ist der Zwei-Spieler-Simultanmodus des Vorbilds spurlos verschwunden.

Auch dessen Klasse war hier nirgends zu entdecken, eher im Gegentum! Die saubere aber einfallslose Grafik regt nicht gerade zum Weiterspielen an, selbst wenn die Süßigkeiten in höheren Levels durch Verkehrszeichen und Wetter-Symbole ersetzt werden.

Auch die Musik ist kaum der Rede wert, permanent erschallen japanische Düdel-Klänge aus dem Lautsprecher. So richtig in Ordnung geht eigentlich nur die Steuerung, aber das ist bei diesem Spielprinzip ja nun wahrlich keine große Sache.

Damit bleibt Stack Up eine gräulich graue Maus unter den Steinchenspielen, wirklich erwähnenswert sind hier nur zwei Dinge: Einmal der happige Schwierigkeitsgrad (die drei Leben sind schneller ausgehaucht, als man schauen kann!), zum anderen der relativ günstige Preis. (rl)



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Since Amiga fans are still waiting for a definitive Tetris conversion, this distinctly similar puzzle game may provide a worthwhile alternative.

Actually it's not so much Tetris as a variant on the Sega game Columns, where sets of three coloured blocks fall from the top of the screen and by changing the order of the colours in the line, you can form rows of same-coloured blcoks. These then disappear, allowing the blocks above them to collapse Klax-style, opening up possibilities for multiple lines and big bonus scores.

The major difference is that in Stack Up the blocks fall in rows rather than columns, but in most other respects this is much the same game. You can vary the speed and difficulty, there's a practice mode to let you get the hand of the concept before you throw yourself into it properly, and there's even an option to switch between four completely different (and rather appealing) sets of graphics.

The game is slickly presented and addictive (although the 'continue' seems a little out of place), with a well-graded difficulty throughout and an absolutely gorgeous oriental tune accompanying the action. If you didn't like Tetris there's no point in you even thinking about it, but if you did there's no reason why you shouldn't love this little game to death - it does exactly what it sets out to do perfectly, and there are precious few games you can really say that about.



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KIXX 16 OUT NOW £7.99

The world is full of people who just love to keep things tidy. Stack Up caters for these neat freaks, as the aim of the game is to collect groups of blocks made up of same colour objects. This game is very similar to Klax, although Stack Up differs in that you can choose different styles of playing blocks. Very useful if you get tired of looking at the same design for hours.

Among icons to choose from are weather symbols or outer space symbols. The music is one of the best features; a Japanese style tune has a relaxed, oriental feel. Hording points can become easy if you know how. A vertical line of three will gain 200 points, but going for a diagonal line will credit you with 1,000 points.

Stack Up not only requires lightning quick reflexes but, to be successful, you need to think quickly to plan your next move. On the bottom left of the screen, the next combination of blocks appears, and in that split second you have to think out the positioning on the main screen.

Although Stack Up has plenty of depth (it has 22 rounds in each level), it's a game that is either loved or loathed. It's like an adult version of a baby's building blocks and perhaps that is where Stack Up's appeal lies. Let's hear it for second childhoods!



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Zeppelin/ST & Amiga/£7.99

Amiga reviewBloggo: If I had a tenner for every Tetris clone I've seen, I'd bee sunbathing in Rio with Ronnie Biggs by now. Stack Up is well put together with a good soundtrack, but it's still Tetris with knobs on.

Strips of three blocks fall from the top of the screen. Each block has a design on a theme. Putting three matching blocks side by side makes 'e vanish. You can juggle the blocks around as they fall, which puts a bit of stress on yer reflexes, but apart from that it's "been there done that naff off".

Mind you, Tetris on the ST or Amiga is no great shakes, so if you're after this type of game, this is as good as any of 'em.