Back in 1993, my father came home with a shareware disk which he had gotten for free when buying our new monochrome printer. It was my first contact with shareware games – the disk contained Commander Keen 6 (Aliens Ate My Babysitter), Hearthlight (fantastic game) and … Brix.
What is surprising at first is the size of the game. It’s less than 100kb big but don’t let that deceive you - it holds so much. Yes, it’s clearly a puzzle game as you can see from the screenshots, but it’s also enormous and keeps on challenging you without becoming impossibly hard. I remember playing this game for so many hours and never getting tired of it.
The object of the game is to bring two or more bricks of the same type together, and make them disappear but at the end, no bricks may remain on the screen. This may sound easy, but it’s not, believe me. For example, the second a brick of a similar type touches another, both will disappear. When you discover you have an uneven number of bricks, it means having to make 3 bricks at the same time disappear, which is tricky to do. You also have lava pits, elevators and other extras to spice up the levels.
The good thing about this game is that there’s no “game over”. For each stage you have a certain number of retries so if you get stuck (which is easy if you don’t pay attention), you can retry the puzzle a certain amount of times. If you use all your retries, you have to restart the stage, which isn’t a disaster if you remembered the solution of the puzzles before the one you got stuck on.
There’s also a time limit though, so you can’t endlessly mull over the possible solution – but don’t let it rush you too much! As I mentioned, it’s easy to get stuck by accidentally destroying two blocks when you needed to destroy three of them (and if you have one block left of one type, it’s impossible to complete the puzzle).
The graphics and sounds are very basic though – which isn’t surprising considering the size of the game. There’s no music either but to be honest, I tend to turn those off for puzzle games anyway. I like to not be distracted and believe me, concentration is a must.
All in all, this is a hidden gem of a puzzle game. It doesn’t punish you too much for trying, hooks you in and challenges you without ever really getting you frustrated. Definitely worth playing!
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