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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

OK, so you can guess from the title that this is a bouncy sort of game.

Maybe you feel you've bounced your way through one too many games recently.

I'd sympathise but Kinetic is better than you'd think.

Roughly, it's a combination of collecting and dodging in the traditional way except that 'you' are a ball type thing that spins around and generally bounces in an uncontrolled sort of way. Quite apart from the many squelching, wobbling and spinning amorphous blobs that comprise the bad guys in this game there is a problem - just that of getting your ball to go in the direction you want it to.

Not only does it bounce oddly but the game features various areas where gravity is reversed or otherwise twisted. Early on for example you come to a screen which looks faintly like a pinball table and you find the gravitational field which centres around two points in the middle of the screen is so strong you go around and around, just desperately trying to get off the damn screen...

The object of Kinetic is to pilot your spaceship (bounce your ball with sticky-out bits) across the myriad screens collecting three giant letters P,X and A which have to be formed into a latin word and presented to the Kinemator. (This is what we in the trade know as a 'make it up as you go along' plot). Really, what it's all about is collecting objects like shields and weapons.

The backgrounds look good but then don't scroll. It just flips between screens (although very neatly). They ought to scroll. In any event you'd be pretty hard pressed to find any colour clash whatsoever.

Where objects are animated it's done well - 1 particularly like the amoeba which looks like a man trapped in a pillow case. Inevitably there are transporters which will whizz you to later screens (more than forty in all) provided you know the code number... or can work it out.

Kinetic is, to be cynical, a repackaging of several ideas, bouncing games, maze games and collecting games.

But despite that I kept playing. The gameplay is right and the degree of difficulty has been well judged so that you can achieve just enough, early enough, to make you want to continue.

Label: Firebird
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Not the first (or last) bouncing ball game. Never mind - it rings a few new changes and plays beautifully.