Monday, February 4, 2008


Atomix is another logic-puzzle game. It doesn't seem to still be in production, although there are other Atomix-clones out there (technically, this Atomix is in fact a clone of the original Atomix that was released as a retail game in 1990).

Each level has a pre-determined grid, with different circles representing elements. In the bottom right of the screen is a diagram of a molecule that must be constructed out of the elements. Which seems easy enough until you get to moving the elements around: they go until they hit a wall (or another game piece). You can only pick the direction in which they move. This means that positioning them is a complex task that often involves manipulating multiple pieces to manufacture a series of stops that will allow you to park a molecule where you need it to be.

While it's yet another brain-teaser, I-am-going-to-shoot-myself-if-I-have-to-play-any-more-of-these game, it's a little more fun for me than some of the others, because there's a greater illusion of choice (compared to, say, a lot of the levels in Klotski). Like Klotski and unlike Sudoku or most of the rest of the logic puzzles, it has a definite end. Rather than randomly or procedurally generated levels, each level of Atomix was designed, making it possible to 'beat' the game.

It keeps track of a score (which I assume is based on the number of moves you make, and the amount of time it takes you to make them), and keeps a high-score list, which is motivational, as is the knowledge that each level was hand-crafted (it makes me want to see what they did next - your mileage may vary). You can't save your progress, but you can skip each level with the press of a button, allowing you to cheat and advance to a level you haven't actually gotten to, but also allowing you to pick up where you left off, minus the score you had acquired. If you're playing to explore the game, and not for score, that's a very handy feature indeed.

The consistently increase in complexity, eventually making them frustrating as all-get-out for a person like me who doesn't really even enjoy the motions he's going through, but should offer a solid challenge to the avid puzzle-gamer.

Graphics-wise, it looks like something done in Visual Basic in the late 90s, and it features no sound at all, but doesn't suffer for the lack. Another solid puzzle game, with few frills. The closest possible thing to the website for the game I can find doesn't work for me, so I can only assume that the game isn't in any kind of continuous production and development has stopped, which means the game will probably not be expanded. As it stands, hoever, it's a complete experience.

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