Saturday, June 17, 2017

BLAT


I enjoy the occasional brain teaser and Blat is an excellent twist on the Columns genre which was released into the public domain by The Infamous Cabbage, aka Chris Vance, for the Atari STe. Yep, sorry STF dudes but this game is only playable on an STe because of the excellent samples, thanks to the DMA hardware. Interestingly, this brain-blaster was released on June 17th, 1992 and is 25 years old today. So let us all sing, "Happy Birthday, BLAT"

Falling columns of coloured blocks will need reordering during their descent and, if we can successfully match them up, then it's KABOOM!! This explosion earns us lots of points and helps clear the board space for the oncoming blocks, so the more we match the greater the points. Diagonal rows are the most rewarding and you will receive a smart bomb when matching five or more. It's advisable to keep these until the later (faster) levels!

There are 15 levels in all but it won't be long until you're grateful for keeping a stockpile of smart bombs because this isn't an easy game and it soon picks up the pace for an extremely harsh difficulty. Thankfully, there are other items to help, like the clocks which can slow the pace right down - two is good but three is much better. There are also sticks of dynamite, lightning bolts and even indestructible blocks. Many of these can be paired so try positioning a light fuse next to the dynamite for a massive explosion that conveniently destroys many other blocks.

What a great alternative to Tetris and one I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a polished product with some gorgeous sound effects so I'm surprised it's PD and not shareware. I didn't get anywhere near level 15 and doubt I ever will - only the savvy need apply for this gruelling puzzler. Highly recommended, especially for those who like a REAL challenge!!

LINKS

 - Stonish have Serenade #1 floppy disk (it features Teserea, another which you may like).
 - AtariMania has Blat listed in their database with the readme conveniently available.