X-It logo Amiga Computing Silver Award

Tina Hackett dons her thinking cap as she takes a look at Psygnosis' new puzzler. "Just send me toa home for the bewildered" she cried as they strapped her into a straight jacket.


Admittedly, I’m the world’s greatest puzzle fan. In fact, when Rubik’s Cubes were in I lost it completely and ended up peeling off all the colourful squares in order to solve the darn thing. So I felt a little daunted when this latest puzzle offering arrived courtesy of Psygnosis.

Despite disturbing memories of pointless, trivial puzzles that involve pushing bits of coloured tiles around in order to move another colour next to the same colour, I decided to give the game a chance. And pleasantly surprised I was too… this one had a point to it!


Hold on, bear with me. It’s a bit of a strange one this. Bill is your regular kind of guy. That is until he walks back from the fish and chip shops and comes face to face with an alien who whisks him back to a spaceship.

The aliens want to carry out an experiment on Bill so they can find out vital information about intelligence (or lack of it) on Earth. If it turns out he is rather on the dim side, they’ll invade Earth – if not the planet of Ursa Minor Gamma, whose inhabitants are none too clever – will be attacked instead.

So they put him in a maze to see if he can esacpe their traps in the allotted time – if he doesn’t then Earth will be doomed.



X_IT takes some of the oldest, simplest puzzle concepts and turns them into a modern and interesting adaption. The basic block shifting idea is similar to Tetris or the tile shifting number games (often found in dentist’s waiting rooms!). But this takes the idea to a new level and it has a lot more to it than these rather repetitive games. The inclusion of a mission als gives more of a point to the proceedings. I’m not knocking Tetris and the like by any means, but it’s good to see something that goes a lot further.



X-IT is without a doubt a pure puzzler. The object is to escape each of the mazes by using the blocks. Each type has different properties that will either help or hinder you and you’ll have to figure out how to use them to your advantage.

Each level has a time limit and a different temperature which may affect the blocks. For example, an ice block in a hot level must be used quickly before it melts. Some stages have bombs which explode in a certain time, and you have to move the bomb to where you want it to explode to gain the most beneficial effect.

The blocks all have different weights too, so with a Lightweight one you won’t have a problem pushing two around at the same time, but a medium one can only be pushed on its own. Heavy blocks can only be moved with wheels.

Other blocks include Magnets which repel steel blocks in the opposite direction, and teleport blocks which allw you to transport blocks to other areas. This is all straightforward enough – until you come across the obstacles. Glue, for instance, will stop some blocks passing. Radiation blocks are dangerous and should be avoided, and ice makes blocks difficult to control.

Finally the bonus game is a great diversion where you get to fly your shuttle pod up to the spacecraft to reach the next level, collecting as many extra points as you can.




The music that runs throughout the game is a lively dance tune. It’s not particularly original and you won’t find yourself humming along to it but it does do its job and doesn’t grate too much.

Sound effects are rather sparse though and it would have benefited the game if some witty samples or at least something (anything) more could have been added. What there is is okay, such as the explosions and the occasional moving block noise, but I feel a lot more could have been done. It’s the sort of game where good effects would have really made an exceptional title.




X-IT isn’t the most graphically advanced of titles but considering the nature of the game, it doesn’t need to be – I mean how much can you actually do to make a visually amazing block game?

The overhead view is effective in showing all the action and the graphics clearly show what’s going on. The sprite, although quite dinky, shows some nice animation and avoids being cutesy, and the backgrounds for the aliens’ lab change so you get some nice variety even though they won’t knock your eyes out.

The blocks you have to manoeuvre are easy to tell apart which is pretty essential when you are racing against the clock. Some of the coloures are a little on the garish side but it does brighten things up and at least the main screen is uncluttered, leaving you free to concentrate on gameplay.




Okay, I wasn’t all that fond of puzzlers. A lot of them are just too repetitive, but for some strange reason I enjoyed X-IT. It’s just one of those games that has elusive qualities to make you want to return for yet another go. Yes, it sure as hell is frustrating, but it really is addictive.

The bonus level, as mentioned before, is a nice addition because it gives you a break from all the puzzling – it gives your brain a welcome rest! A password system is also a very good (and necessary) addition. This one is particularly helpful as it is easy to operate and the passwords are given out after every level completed, not just after every lengthy stage. And if you get stuck on a particular part you can skip it and go back later – there are no irritating dead ends which leave you stranded while your brain frantically ticks away.

X-IT may not be the most astonishing game in the universe but what it lacks in graphics and hi-tech effects, it more than makes up for in sheer playability. The many levels will keep even the most expert of puzzlers occupied for a good while.

The puzzles start off easily, gradually introducing the different elements of the game, but at the hardest level things get really tough! It’s not a game that can be rushed through in five minutes flat but at the same time, it has a very satisfying progress level.

Puzzle fans will love this, and even if you aren’t – well, I’d still recommend you take a look because this really is an entertaining title. In fact, I’m off for another go right now!

X-It logo

Surely out-and-out puzzle games do not need to be weighed down by the burden of a plot. But seeing as X-IT has the best plot ever, read on. Bill is halting his fish and chip consumption for health reasons. Last time he ate them, aliens kidnapped and dumped him in a deep space junk yard. Now, that’s a quite tremendous yawn.

Before young William can order one of each three times and a bag of scrimps, there are blocks to be pushed, puddles to avoid, electrical fields to bypass, icy and exploding blocks to contend with and if all of this weren’t distressing enough, a clock ticks merrily away while your fevered brow fevers some more. Oh, and you have an energy level to maintain. Tsk. Puzzle games, eh? Hard work.

X-IT, like most good puzzle games, is both vexing and rewarding in roughly equal portions. Scream as you make a blindingly obvious error for the umpteenth time, sliding an icy block into an impossible corner. Cheer as the solution becomes all too obvious after you’ve studied the screen making fulsome use of the handy pause facility in the process.

Kindly, you aren’t forced to plough through level after level – the options screen allows you to sweep to different areas of the game, a welcome feature, although undoubtedly, the codes will be landing on my desk shortly.

X-IT is good fun, not groundbreaking or flashy, just solid on gameplay. Sure, at 20 knicker, it’s a touch pricey but it comes recommended nonetheless.

Die High-Tech-Kisten

X-It logo

Verschiebbare Kisten, die in vertrackten Labyrinthen den Ausgang blockiere, sollte inzwischen jeder Gambler kennen, oder? Richtig, hier wartet ein "Sokoban"-Ableger - aber ein richtig guter!

Mag das Prinzip also auch einem betagten Knobel-Klassiker entstammen, in dieser neuen Variante von Data Design bzw. Psygnosis wird deutlich mehr geboten als bloß die 2847ste Wiederholung von längst Durchgekautem: Hier warten acht Raumstationen mit 120 scrollbaren Levels – und vor allem verschieden schwere Boxen.

Während man also von den leichteren Schachteln gleich zwei auf einen Schlag bewegen kann, müssen für die ganzen schweren Brummer sogar Räder an-gekarrt werden. Dazu reagieren manche Kleinteile auf magnetische Einflüsse und der Spieler sicherlich überrascht auf die vielen Extras wie Teleporter, Bomben und Traktorstrahlen.

Etwa nicht? Dann laßt Euch noch sagen, daß hier (innerhalb eines Zeitlimits) auch noch mit Versatzstücken anderer Genres hantiert werden muß - etwa mit Wandschaltern und herumliegenden Leben oder Power-Ups, wie man sie von den Plattformern her kennt, oder mit kleinen Arcade-Sequenzen zwischen den einzelnen Abschnitten.

Im übrigen unterscheidet sich das Game kaum von der letzten Monat erschienenen DOSen-Version: Die einzelnen Stationsdecks präsentieren sich aus der schrägen Vogelperspektive im bonbonfarbigen SF-Look, und gelöste Levels dürfen mit Paßwörtern angewählt werden. Dazu kommen ein sehr annehmbarer Sound aus Musik und FX sowie eine einwandfrei arbeitende Sticksteuerung.

Und wir kommen somit zu dem Schluß, daß dieser flott renovierte Grübel-Oheim mit seinen kniffligen Problemen auch heute noch über längere Zeit hinweg motivieren kann. (jn)

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There is no easy way out.

The Psygnosis warehouse clearance continues. It’s hard to move round a computer shop without tripping over teetering piles of Psygnosis titles, at the knock-down, never-to-be-repeated price of one of your Earth tenners. Walker (AP24 85%) for a tenner? Yes please. Armour Geddon 2 (AP37, 57%) for ten pounds? Umm, maybe not, eh?

Amid this landslide of back catalogue comes a new game, X-It, which used to be called (ugh) Zonked! and is so obscure a tile, that when I got stuck and phoned up the Psygnosis help line (051 709 5755 – Phone them, not us, for pity’s sake. _ Ed), the guy denied the existence of the game and then went on to say that even if it has been released, it certainly wasn’t one of theirs. Well it does, and it is.

And we’ve seen it before. Check back to AMIGA POWER 37,a nd on the second disk you’ll see a PD game called Soko Ban. In it, you’re presented with some coloured blocks and floor tiles. Against the clock, you push the blocks around until each block is on top of the corresponding tile, making sure you don’t push the blocks into corners where you can’t move them – my point to all this being, see that Soko Ban? That’s X-It, that is.

A single stack of two

Weeeell, it is and it isn’t, for although the basic idea’s exactly the same, X-It’s far cleverer and feature-packeder than Soko Ban. This time you don’t have to push blocks onto coloured tiles, you have to push them into holes so you can get to the exit.

As well as singles some blocks are stacked on top of each other, the catch being (this is fter all a puzzle game) that you can only push two at a time. These could be two single blcoks, or a single stack of two but certainly not the stacks of three, which can only be moved by attaching wheels to them. And then once you’ve got them going, icy patches send them slithering off, or ice blocks melt before you need them or you have to teleport somewhere first. And so on.

Starting from the first few Soko Ban-esque learner levels, X-It cranks up the number of objects and the complexity of each across a hundred and odd levels. To avoid you getting stuck fast, you can enter the game at every fifteenth level, and compared with some of the horrendous level codes of recent times the ones in X-It are merciful keyboard-typeable six digit codes.

Playing the game directs you swearing mostly where it belongs (the puzzles) and not at stupid problems or disk accessing, and much fun was had alternately cursing when I was stuck and punching the air in righteous jubilation when I cracked a level.

The problems? Well, lives – do you need or want lives in puzzle games? Isn’t being stuck on a level punishment enough, without all the added stress (and disk accessing) of returning to the menu to type in a code every five attempts? And why’re all the characters tiny and the playing area only about 15% of the screen? Shurely shome mishtake?

The time allowances are a bit strict too, leaving no margin for you to make a couple of mistakes and just scrape in. And the music’s crap, and plays in the menus even after you’ve turned it off. But hey, small problems ina sensibly-priced, rather endearing puzzlers.

X-It logo

█ Price: £19.99 █ Publisher: Psygnosis 0151 709 5755

Life is a funny thing, one minute you’re walking down the street minding your own business, the next you’re thrown into some kind of man-sized rat maze. What? You mean this has never happened to you? Well, you can’t have played X-IT, because if you had you would know that aliens are thinking of taking over the Earth and need a human guinea pig to test the intelligence of their intended victims.

As Bill (the unlikely hero) you must negotiate level after level of sneaky puzzles in your attempts to save the World. Basically a puzzle game, X-IT is a race agains the clock, in which the sole object of each level is to reach the exit.

This may sound a tiny bit easy, and it would be if it was not for the fact that every room is littered with holes, which makes your short journey to freedom all the more difficult. To help you combat these perilous pitfalls, you have at your disposable… blocks.

"BLOCKS!" I here you cry, yes blocks. No ray guns here I’m afraid, just good old-fashioned blocks. These blocks must be pushed into the holes closing them up and allowing you safe passage to exit. Ingenious I’m sure you’ll agree, but that’s not all, some of the blocks are heavy, some are light, some slide, some melt, but all have the common goal of helping you reach the exit.

The first thing that struck me about X-IT is how easy the first 15 or so levels are – then it became very difficult. It didn’t feel as if there is any real learning curve to the game. I ended up wishing that the aliens had not kidnapped me.