Tuesday, April 22, 2008


If you've read all of these reviews (and I pity you, if you have), KAtomic is going to look very familiar. It's a KDE version of the game Atomix I reviewed a few months ago. As such, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it.

The point of each level is to construct a given molecule by moving the pieces around the board in order to hook them up properly. The trick lies in getting them where you want them to go: they move until they hit a wall or another atom, so it takes some careful positioning to line everything up.

I'd love to say this plays exactly the same as Atomix, which worked perfectly fine, but KAtomix unfortunately falls short of the standard set by Atomix. Due to a graphical glitch, it's a total bitch. If you look at the screenshot, you can see two white squares. Those are the pieces that have to be moved. They show up as transparent squares, for some reason, and not as spheres. This has the effect of removing the tiny little pieces (on the sides, in this case) that show which one has to go on which side of the central molecule.

This makes gameplay something akin to russian roulette, rather than a game of skill, as you can line up the pieces perfectly only to discover that due to the hidden nature of the connectors, they don't actually connect. It wasn't a big deal on that first stage - I just had to reverse them, which only took a second. The next stage had six that were transparent squares. Screw that.

This is another KDE game, and I've had trouble with virtually all of the KDE games I've tried, so it's possible that they just don't work right under Gnome. If that's the case, they might think about not making them available under the regular Ubuntu repositories, but instead only for Kubuntu. Since they are available, I'm forced to assume that they just plain don't work. As such, I can't recommend this one at all. For the record, Atomix is also a nicer looking game, so I wouldn't recommend KAtomic anyway.*

*A bit of research determined that the most recent version of KAtomic is 3.0 - the version the repositories provide is 2.0, with a copyright date of 1998. That it's so outdated probably explains the graphical glitches; I'd guess that the libraries it uses have probably changed over the last ten years, if it isn't just that bugs were present in version 2.0. Ubuntu may make installing applications very easy, but the abysmal lack of maintenance I'm discovering is disheartening to the extreme.

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