KLAX / Atari / Arcade
 
 
In the wake of Tetris' runaway success in the late 80s, there were heaps of "shit keeps falling" clones and variants. Klax was Atari's unusual arcade entry, which sees the tiles coming at you on a conveyor belt; you have to first successfully catch them, then choose where to dump them on the playfield to line up three in a row.

Though basic and a very familiar gameplay experience, Klax is actually one of the better of this soup of Tetris wannabes. Adding the need to first catch the pieces (letting 2 or 3 fall ends the game, depending on the level) adds a level of frantic intensity that a lot of these games don't have. As the levels proceed there's also a nice variety of different objectives. And there's a 2-player mode, which was kind of ahead of the curve for 1989.

The production values are very basic (the game was reportedly knocked out in about 2 months) but good enough to pass. There's some goofy sound effects, but no music whatsoever. Static basic backgrounds are kind of boring, but the vibrantly colorful blocks help make the concept instantly intuitive to grasp.

The only real knock against it, aside from the spartan production values, is that it gets to be a bit too much of a quarter-sucker after a few levels, ramping up to a brutal speed before you're really ready for it.
 
 
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