Why is a cute and hornless triceratops catching and tossing various colored blocks down a hallway? Because if he doesn't he'll be crushed to death! So as best as I can figure, this Dyno's Quest was futile since, sadly, we all know dinosaurs are now extinct.
StormBASIC has taken the classic gameplay of Data East?s Magic Drop and given it some of its own spin. Like the classic game the core gameplay is sucking up to three of a given color?s blocks and then tossing them back down the hallway so as to form a connected color grouping of four or more to destroy the bricks. Loose bricks not consumed in the reaction will fall back down the hallway and can sometimes form secondary color groupings for even more points than a standard reaction. To help you smash these brightly colored blocks are a number of handy special blocks and power-ups. The special blocks are marked with an appropriate icon and trigger immediately if you set off an adjacent reaction. The power-up blocks, marked with a question mark, work in an almost similar manner only as opposed to going off immediately they drop down for your Dyno to catch. You can only store one of these power-ups at a time. Whichever power-up you have stored in your magic box (in the upper right), you are free to trigger at your leisure.
The game comes in two modes. The Classic Mode gives you a mission to clear a certain number of bricks before being crushed. If you successfully complete the level you?re entitled to end of level bonuses depending on how quickly you completed the level and how many super combinations you scored in the level. This continues until you?re overrun by the bricks. Something unique, and I?m still not sure I agree with this design decision, is that once you are finally overrun you can simply continue from the last level you attempted. The points are reset to whatever they were at the beginning level but it still essentially means endless continues from the highest level you?ve reached in Classic. Endless Mode is just a level-less onslaught of blocks that will get faster with more colors over time. It?s all about how many points you can score until you?re smushed by the bricks. Another aspect I have issues with is that the game only tracks a single high score. Since Classic Mode allows endless continues it seems unlikely you?ll ever come close to that potential score in the Endless Mode unless the scoring between the two modes is very different (which again supports my whine that they shouldn?t share a single high score).
The game?s graphics are bright and cartoony but with a bit of 3D depth to them. The sound is spot on as well with an upbeat pop feel, each power-up has its own sound effects, even a cool cartoony, ?Winner!? shouted each time you complete a level. Sure this can only end bad for our guy, but, by golly, our protagonist sure seems to have an upbeat attitude up to the very end. Controls are responsive but I had some issues with the push/pull buttons along the right side of the screen. It may have just been my fumbly fingers again, but it seemed very easy to miss hitting the appropriate push or pull button squarely which, even though I?m outside of the actual play field, would cause my dyno to come charging over to the right most edge of the screen.
In closing, even with my few minor gripes, this is a fun and addictive action puzzler that?s great for the whole family.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4- Nice bright crisp cartoony graphics with a hint of 3D. Sound: -4- Upbeat pop music with lots of zany cartoon like sound effects. Controls: -3.5- Pretty good except for my occasional problems with the push/pull buttons. Gameplay: -4.5- This is an incredibly addictive puzzler with fairly intuitive controls and a good variety of power-ups to keep you coming back for more.
Playing Hints and Tips: -Learn how to juggle power-ups! Since you can only carry one power-up at a time, it?s usually a good plan to quickly use your current power-up as you see a new one falling so that you don?t just lose a chance to use your old power-up before it gets replaced.
-Use those special blocks! Remember to activate a special block or have a power-up drop you need to make a grouping adjacent to the magical brick.