KLAX Review (1990 Atari Lynx Game)

Klax is an idea that sounds dumb at first but is actually fun. In fact it’s so much fun that you could almost forget Tetris while blissfully playing through it.

Many titles in the genre have used stacking objects as a basic premise, but Klax comes up with something so classy and stylish that it deserves to be recognized as being one of the premier puzzle games in existence. The Atari Lynx version of Klax in particular manages to adapt itself to the system so well that it becomes a high watermark for all other Lynx games to strive for.

Klax calls for gamers to turn the Lynx sideways, with the D-pad on the bottom and the buttons on top. It’s an odd way to hold a system, but after awhile it gets comfortable. And it gives Klax a chance to use the longer part of the screen to display tiles from further away.

The gameplay itself is brilliant. You can start off on the easiest levels forming basic Klaxes, but as you progress through levels you’ll be confronted with more difficult challenges like forming diagonals. You could always try to go for the big score and do multiple Klaxes at once, at the risk of flooding your bin.

Like Tetris Klax gives you an apparently simple underlying premise that turns into a very complex and strategic game. But in some ways Klax offers even more depth than Tetris. A four-line block in Tetris is relatively easy to set up for the experienced gamer, but the more complex and rewarding formations in Klax are monstrously challenging.

The graphics are, in a word, elegant. Klax doesn’t have flashy visuals or effects anywhere, but it actually works better that way. The game is all about subdued classiness, and the graphics are just one aspect. The tiles are all cleanly drawn and colored, and well animated for the flipping sequences.

Klax’s elegant minimalist approach to sound also reinforces its stylishness. During the game there’s no music, and you just hear the sound of tiles dropping down. When you complete a Klax, you’ll be rewarded with a short note sequence. After each level the game applauds you, then prepares you for the next level with a high quality voice clip.

Playing Klax is sort of like taking part in a golf or billiards tournament, in that no one wants to say anything to disturb your concentration while you’re working. But the gameplay is much more enjoyable to gamers at large, rather than being a niche market title.

If you have a Lynx and intend to use it, Klax should be at the core of your gaming library. If you enjoy puzzle games at all you’ll be completely addicted to it, the way you were when you first came across Tetris. Even if you’re just a casual player, it’s hard not to be drawn into the deceptively simple gameplay.

Graphics

Stylish and elegant graphics throughout.

Sound

Taking the minimalist approach with sound effects and music actually works for Klax.

Enjoyment

Klax is one of the most addictive games you’ll come across, and the Lynx version is one of the best in terms of enhancing the system it’s on.

Replay Value

You’ll never bored of Klax’s complexities.

Documentation

The manual explains the scoring system as well as various techniques for forming Klaxes.

Written by: Brent

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