KLONY game
  • Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatAtari 8-bit
DeveloperArSoft Corporation
ReviewDoug and Mark

Main review

Klony is a cover of a game that started life as a computer-controlled board game called Infection on the Amiga and Atari ST before going on to appear under the title Ataxx in the arcades during 1990. To play the game, each player takes it in turns to move a piece on a 7×7 board. A piece can be moved in any of the available eight directions over either one or two squares. If the piece is moved into a neighbouring square another piece is placed on the starting square, but if a piece is moved two squares then no additional piece is added. Once the move has been completed, all pieces belonging to the opposing player that are adjacent to the moved piece change to it’s colour.

What isn’t initially obvious is that you can move pieces in the same was as a knight moves in Chess. To make things interesting, on certain levels there are some squares that can not be occupied, although you can “jump” your pieces over these squares and the game ends when one or both players can’t move and the player who has the most pieces on the board wins.

As with all the best puzzle games, it’s incredibly simple to play but all that does is disguise it’s complexity and I’ve started many a level thinking “ah, this one looks easy!” only to be soundly beaten by the CPU. The levels are played in a random order which is great as it means that you’re not forced to play the same initial levels again and again – exactly what you need if you’re the sort of gamer who likes to dip in and out of games. Using a joystick to move a pointer around to select the piece you wish to move and the vacant target square works well enough, but maybe just being able to move from one square to another would have been better than smoothly moving around the screen.

The graphics are displayed in monochrome hi-res with the 7×7 board in the centre of the screen. To each side the screen is filled with images of strange creatures entangled in what look like vines of some kind which while not to everyone’s taste do provide some graphical interest to what could be a rather dull black and white grid otherwise. At the bottom of each of these graphical borders is the number of pieces each side has on the board and it’s soul destroying to watch your once high counter descend rapidly at the closing stages of a level just because of a couple of misjudged moves. The understated music suits this kind of game and doesn’t distract from the task at hand, in fact it hums along to itself quite nicely as you’re playing without becoming irritating and forcing you to take a desperate lunge for the volume control!

It would have been nice if there was a high-score table or something that keeps track of your best times so that you have something to compete against. A two player mode would have been a bonus too, for anyone who can persuade a friend or family member to take them on. This is a robust and rewarding puzzle game that presents the player with both a challenge and potentially endless frustration!

Second opinion

Klony is based on a game that I don’t even like so I’m not overly impressed with the prospect of playing this at all, for research purposes I’m however obliged to play it. It’s basically a conversion of the Leyland arcade game called Ataxx save for the time limit. For those unfamiliar with Ataxx, it’s a game similar to the board game Othello and you play in turns against the computer. The object of the game is to move your counters around the board with the intention of turning the opposing player’s counters to your colour. When you do that you win and presumably it’s on to the next level but if your opponent achieves that you lose. It’s possible to reach a deadlock when you can’t move anymore and in this case the number of counters is taken into account instead. Simple as that really. Exactly how you are supposed to be moving your counters and trying to win was initially a bit of a mystery to me but I eventually figured it out; you may move your counter either one or two cells in distance from its origin into a blank cell. If you move it one cell you keep your original counter and gain an extra one in the new space increasing your total of counters, if you move it two cells, well you just move it. When you move into the new space all your opponents counters that are adjacent to it become yours and turn your colour. There are sixty different levels and counter layouts and they appear to be randomly loaded which makes some attempt to add variation.

Initially I was hoping for some eye candy to relieve the pain of playing this type of game, but it didn’t really inspire me when I set eyes on the bland monochrome graphics; it has to be said that the images at the sides of the screen are half decent and there a quite few of them, but on this machine and especially since the architecture presumably isn’t being taxed very much, there are no real reasons for this lack of colour or animation. The sound is about on par with the graphics – the title tune and intermission jingles are a bit annoying, but even though the instruments are pretty basic I found the in game music fairly pleasant and it made things a touch more enjoyable. Actually playing the game is a fairly boring affair, even if you wanted to get into it the control system isn’t exactly brilliant – why do we need to control a mouse pointer with the joystick when simple highlighting of the cells would have been sufficient and indeed better? It gets a bit laborious quite quickly and if the prize of completing the level is simply another level of the same but maybe in a bit of a different layout then I’ll pass.

Board games, which is essentially what this is, quite often translate well to the computer screen but this isn’t one of them. It’s like Noughts and Crosses for a computer; a bit pointless. Aside from my slight unavoidable bias of not liking this type of game in the first place, I don’t imagine anyone apart from Ataxx or Othello addicts will enjoy this. The choice of control method renders the game far from an ideal implementation from the offset and the only adequate sound and graphics resonate as a medium sized “so what” with me. The gameplay is not my cup of tea at all and add in the fact it’s a multiload and it’s really taking the biscuit. Not a game I could or will recommend.