Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Doh Hole

It turns out Beyond the Black Hole is some kind of weird Pong-proto-Breakout mish-mash. It was actually pretty fun. You control a paddle on either side of the screen (there are walls on the top and bottom), and both paddles move in unison using the keyboard or mouse. On the screen are a bunch of items that you need to hit with your ball. So far, so standard. The odd thing is, the ball doesn't actually hit the items when it passes over them, instead you have to press the action key to kind of swing the ball. It doesn't hit at the moment you press the key, but about half a second later. That's weird enough, but the ball also switches direction. This means you can effectively keep moving the ball within the playing area without it actually hitting the bat. It doesn't really work out like that because there's a delay between the times you can hit the action button and the ball moves pretty fast, but it adds a unique dynamic. The 'bricks' themselves can also work in different ways. I didn't get very far (you only get one life over 35 levels, although you can start at the last level you reached but with half fuel...I'll get to that), but one level had pool balls as the 'bricks' and if you hit a spot ball first then you needed to make sure you then hit the rest of the spot balls before moving on. If you hit a stripe ball out of order then the ball would turn into some kind of evil bug. Also, if you hit the 8-ball before clearing the rest of the table then all of the other balls re-appear. Again, it gives a very unique twist to the usual game style. The other thing was fuel. You have a limited fuel supply that constantly drips down as you play. If you miss the ball you lose a big chunk of fuel, and I think you lose a little bit every time you hit the action key. This means that essentially there's a timer every time you play. I'm not a great fan of timers, but it adds tension to this kind of action game. So, a surprisingly fun little game.

Next up on the randometer is...Apple Panic! Don't know it, but it sounds like a basic arcade game from 1982.

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