Friday, 13 May 2011

Coins (C64)


News hot off the press...  My C64 comrades from Avatar (Iceout, Fredrik and Flower) uploaded their collaborative game project Coins to the Commodore Scene Database earlier today - and as I've done nothing productive for the group to date I figured that I owed it to them at least give their latest release a plug on the RGCD blog! ;)

Bypassing the excellent 2009 Tech-Tech (Saehn Edition) intro, Coins features a well-drawn title screen pixelled by Flower that is immediately followed by a positively booming soundtrack from Fredrik on the menu screen. "So far so good..." I thought, whilst briefly checking the instructions.  However, after eagerly pressing fire to start the game, I cannot deny that I was a little disappointed to be greeted by silence - some in-game music would have been really welcome here guys!
  
  
Ignoring its mute character for a second, Coins is actually quite a nice casual-puzzler.  The goal is simple; you control a four-by-four tile square that you move about the large play area and must rearrange the jumbled loose change into groups of four similar coloured coins within a time limit.  Unlike most match-x games you don’t move one tile at a time, but instead swap the x and y positions of four coins at once (by holding fire and moving the joystick), which makes for quite a cool control system and adds a little extra challenge.  Unfortunately, this is spoiled somewhat by the fact that to ‘clear’ matching groups you have to then move your cursor over them (when really they should just vanish by themselves automatically like in every other game in the genre).
  
As an Avatar member, it’s a shame I didn’t get a chance to test Coins before it was released as I could have given this feedback prior to reviewing it.  Despite being a pretty decent little game (one of my favourites from Iceout to date in fact), Coins could have been improved in a number of ways.  The lasting-appeal is seriously hurt by the lack of in-game music and the odd ‘clearing’ system mentioned above just feels clunky, but in addition to this the character graphics could have also been tweaked a little to make the different coins a bit more obvious.  Maybe it’s just my jaded eyes, but to me the four types are hard to distinguish apart - adjusting the orientation of the internal shadow or giving them different patterns could have helped.  Or perhaps that was a conscious design decision to make it more difficult to beat?
  
  
Anyway, I hate to sound negative about this release - Coins is not a bad game by any means, and I’d love to see it expanded upon or revised in the future.  With its two game modes (challenge being the preferred option) and promise of a hidden unlockable secret, Coins proves to be a fun little distraction. These three relatively new sceners deserve to be commended for their efforts and contribution to the C64 community.  Good work! :)

Download the game here (from the Commodore Scene Database).
Run it using VICE (free software).
3 out of 5