Crystalix (PC)

By Phill Parker

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 9.00

Developed by Gulny Games and published by Alawar Entertainment, Crystalix (http://www.alawar.com/games/crystalix) is one of those sweet little time wasters that grabs hold of your attention, and won’t let go.

Much like the classic puzzle game Tetris, Crystalix lets you clear successive screens full of differently shaped blocks (or in this case, multi-colored crystals). Instead of dropping down from the top, new pieces appear along the bottom, moving from right to left. To proceed, you match these pieces with the various crystal configurations above. A neat twist is that you can rotate each piece to better fit the vertical and horizontal lines of crystals. If your rack at the bottom fills up, you can click a hammer icon to destroy selected pieces. Otherwise, a full rack means game over, man! You can also select a magic wand to clear crystals from the play area above. There’s a limited number of hammers and wands, however you can earn bonuses during gameplay to keep adding more of these useful tools. Sometimes they’re absolutely necessary to free you out of a jam.

There’s two versions of this addictive puzzle: Classic and Jewel modes. Classic style involves the removal of all crystals and tokens from the field. Jewel mode lets you destroy crystals while filling the game field with tokens. Jewel mode is a bit more difficult, which should suit those looking for greater challenge.
The tutorial couldn’t be easier to understand. An animated, step-by-step demonstration fills just one screen, allowing complete beginners to understand the mechanics of gameplay immediately.

Crystalix offers relaxing music, and good (but not outstanding) graphics. The best way to play is inside a window, rather than full screen, since this allows you to multitask on your desktop. I point this out because the game is a great creativity stimulator. If you’re hard at work, and feel bogged down, play a round of Crystalix for five or 10 minutes, then switch back to the job at hand. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to concentrate again. The trick is, of course, not to become mesmerized and fall into that “just one more round” trap. If you do, two hours later you’ll still be happily clicking away while your boss hovers behind your back, ready to issue your walking papers. Then again, maybe getting fired would be a good thing, because you’d have more time to play Crystalix! Careers are overrated, anyway.

At a time when computer games cost millions of dollars to develop, arrive on DVDs and occupy five GB of precious hard drive space, a back-to-basics diversion like Crystalix is just what the doctor ordered. Download and installation are a snap, learning to play takes one minute, and with more than 70 levels, it will keep you entertained for a long time.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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