Crystal Raider from Mastertronic is not a game I’d come across prior to recording this video, but it seems it was rather fondly regarded back in the day — and likewise a lot of people today seem to like it, too.
It’s an interesting puzzle-platformer with a peculiar jumping system similar to that found in Atari’s arcade title Major Havoc: so long as you hold the fire button down, you continue the upwards arc of your jump. Mastering the crazy moves you can do with this is essential to success — and Crystal Raider certainly demands some inhuman agility at times!
Zenji for Atari 8-bit is an early Activision game I’d never heard of — I’m surprised, since I thought I’d stumbled across all of their work from the early days of video gaming at one point or another.
I’m doubly surprised, since Zenji is a really good game! It’s a fun puzzler where certain elements will feel familiar to fans of Pipe Mania and its numerous imitators, but with its own distinctive twist that makes it stand out as something truly original.
Valgus 2 (or possibly “Valgus Squared”, thinking about it) for Atari 8-bit is an interesting and creative take on Tetris that, for once, doesn’t just knock off someone else’s game.
While superficially resembling Alexey Pajitnov’s official follow-up Welltris, Valgus 2 is actually a rather different sort of game, tasking you with surrounding a central piece rather than making lines on the floor of a “well”.
When is a colourful Japanese puzzle game not a colourful Japanese puzzle game? When it’s made by Germans!
Gem’X, despite appearances, is indeed a German-born game designed to resemble Japanese arcade titles, thanks to one of its designers’ love of Japanese anime and manga. While there are certain areas where they didn’t quite nail the presentation, it certainly has a distinctive look and feel among the rest of the Atari ST’s library.
And it’s an interesting, surprisingly cerebral puzzle game, too! Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
It’s another unreleased game for the Atari 5200 that was a casualty of Atari not really knowing what they wanted to do with this console — and eventually canning it and its games altogether. Thankfully, we now get to enjoy this high-resolution physics puzzle for ourselves — and without having to suffer the original 5200 controller — thanks to Atari Flashback Classics!
How’s your spatial awareness? Reckon you could put together a picture puzzle from an isometric perspective? Easy, right?
Okay, now you have to do so by controlling a little dude who can walk on walls. Oh, and the pictures are sometimes (often) moving. And malevolent chess pieces want nothing more than to mess up all your hard work for no other reason than “because they feel like it”.
Doesn’t sound quite so easy now, does it? Oh well. Never Mind.
Quadromania XL appears to have originated as a type-in listing for a German Atari magazine, but beyond that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there online aside from the name of its creator — one T Meyer — and the person in charge of Loesungsalgorithmus (“solution algorithm”, apparently), A Blohm.
It’s a simple but enjoyable puzzler based on a straightforward concept: pick a block to swap the colour of, and all the blocks surrounding it will also swap colours. Repeat until the whole screen is one colour or you run out of moves. Easy, right?
To be fair, there is time for Klax whenever you care to make time for Klax. It is currently 2018, for example, and there is still time for Klax, so I always thought this particular marketing slogan was rather odd. But it was certainly memorable if nothing else, and few would argue that the dude depicted playing Klax on the cover of Tengen and Domark’s Atari ST release of this match-3 puzzler is not a quintessential example of a distinctly ’90s-looking gamer.
Anyway. Klax is one of the earliest puzzle games I recall having a good time with — I actually played it before I played Tetris for the first time, I believe — and it still holds up well today. Though I’m absolutely not as good at it as I used to be. And the Atari Lynx version is better. But this ST version is still worth a look!