Saturday, October 21, 2006

aXiebal 2004

Title: aXiebal 2004
Author: IDEE Software
License: Freeware

Have you ever found a game which by all rights you should hate, but you do actually enjoy it? aXiebal fits that description for me. Let me go over some of aXiebal's faults. The levels have to completed sequentially, and there is a time limit. The pacing of the levels is poor. The interface has huge flaws. For example, in order to see how many bombs you currently have in your possession, you have to hit enter, pause the game, and bring up a dialogue box. On many levels, it is impossible to tell which tiles can be destroyed with bombs and which cannot. This can result in some trial and error. The controls are mushy and take a bit of getting use to.

With all this going against it, I still enjoyed playing aXiebal. It is your basic platform puzzler. The rules are simple: controlling the teal ball, collect all the flags and make it to the exit. There are bombs which can also be picked up. Later, you can detonate a bomb destroying any neighboring destructible tiles. Depending on the tile set, you may or may not be able to tell which tiles are in fact destructible. There are elevators to gain back lost altitude and death tiles to avoid. The death tiles appear differently in different tile sets. Sometimes, they looks like water, file, or as above, electricity. That is it.

aXiebal comes with 75 levels. The difficulty of the levels varies a great deal and the pacing is quite poor. A sorting of the levels would really help. One oddity is that a few levels are different when playing on hard difficulty versus easy difficulty. Another oddity is that when you start a new game, you have to manually go in the options menu and set the level to begin playing. A very strange design choice in my opinion.

Why did I enjoy playing aXiebal? Well... there are a few tough levels in there which I really enjoyed. There were even a couple which I thought were impossible after a few failures. Also, the graphics and audio are decent.

Once you finish off aXiebal 2004, there is aXiebal Winter with 75 more levels to tackle. Although, I could not figure out how to configure aXiebal Winter to have English menus.


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