Overall Score 70%
My return to Bytten after a month with very limited internet access is heralded by a simple to learn puzzle game. I've missed being online.
Biniax-2 boasts that it takes a minute to learn and provides hours of fun. While the second statement is fairly subjective, the former is very true. You move a cursor block around a grid arrangement, eliminating two-colour blocks by moving into them. You can only clear a block if one of the two colours that comprise it matches the colour of your cursor - upon which your cursor changes to the other colour of that block. More blocks will push their way down the screen as you play, and if you are pushed off the screen by these then it's game over.
That's pretty much the size of it. There's a smart-bomb style weapon that will clear the entire column you're in, but these are very limited and should only be used in dire emergency. Obstacle blocks can also come onto the screen and these cannot be destroyed. The aim - stay in the game as long as you can and score as much as you can.
There are three ways to play - Arcade mode has new rows of blocks appearing when the timer runs out, Tactic mode has new rows appear after a set number of moves and multi-player allows two players to work together (or against each other) on the same computer. There are bonus points for clearing the screen of all blocks and for destroying multiple blocks in a row.
Graphics and sound are both very simple. Graphics are big and blocky, which makes sense as they represent blocks, and there are lots of bright colours that make everything stand out. Aside from some menu effects, there is very little animation, with the blocks and cursor simply "jumping" about their grid. Sound effects are limited to a few basics. Music, on the other hand, is quite varied - a selection of backing tracks were randomly chosen when I started several games and appear to be different for tactical and arcade games (though I'm not sure about this).
Learning the basics will indeed take you a minute. Learning to recognise which order to clear the blocks without trapping yourself will take a bit longer. Games are normally quite short, making Biniax-2 excellent for those coffee breaks or as a bit of mild relaxation after a long day.
While it will never take the world by storm, Biniax-2 is a bit of fun and very easy to pick up. It is also born of a philosophy that refuses to make violent or gratuitous games, making it perfectly acceptable for your partner or children. And perhaps best of all, Biniax-2 is utterly free - a price at which surely no-one can go wrong!
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