We all love a puzzle game, right? I think they fit right into the handheld world. Pick up and play action at your fingertips, perfect on the small screen (especially on a modern LCD replacement screen for the Lynx).
The Atari Lynx is fortunate enough to have a few block puzzle games in its original line up, and good ones at that. Block Out and KLAX are probably the stand out games of this type in the offical Lynx library.
Thanks to Songbird Productions we have not 1 but 2 games to play with the Biniax release. Fresh games on the Lynx are always welcome and with Songbird games, you know you are getting the full package. Nice boxes and well-presented games (more on this later).
So, let's take a look at Biniax 1 and 2. You may think why both games? Well, the added bonus with this purchase is that you get 2 games for the price of 1, all on a single cart. There is also an option to purchase a duo pack, which includes 2 carts so you can Lynx up with a friend for multiplayer action.
I find Puzzle games Fun. Frustrating. Addictive. Sometimes they make me happy. Sometimes they make me cry. Well cry may be a bit over the top, that only happened when I played Pit-Fighter for the first time and realised I had not spent my money well.
The difference between the gameplay on Biniax 1 and 2 is minimal. Biniax 2 has far superior graphics, a tactical mode and 2 player options. Nice to see the advancement in the 2nd game.
You have a single colour block. Multiple pairs of blocks start making their way down the screen. You must match your block's colour with one of the falling blocks. Simple right? Not quite. The gameplaysounds simple but soon gets frantic. You can get trapped if you don’t move fast enough, obstacles will start appearing on the screen, making your path to victory harder. On Biniax 2 you have a 2-player mode and a harder Tactical mode. It’s fun, easy to get to grips with and a pick up and play game - which I'm a big fan of on a handheld system. Sometimes we don’t need a big story line, we just want to switch the Lynx on and have 15 minutes of fun.
The graphics are quite simple in both games. Biniax 1 is bright and basic. Biniax 2 is a lot more polished. Everything in Biniax 2 looks better. The colours are brighter, sprites much more detailed. The menus look significantly better. There are also some cute characters displayed on the screen. Even though the graphics are simple I do not mean this in a bad way. For the type of game it is, they are perfectly presentable. Look at Tetris or Columns for example. Simple just works with games like this.
The controls are easy and work excellent-ly. The D-pad responds perfectly to the direction you wish to move. The A and B buttons are used at a minimum, mainly selecting options or activating a pass in the game if you are under pressure with a set of blocks. You never find yourself button mashing or hitting the buttons and hoping for the best. We can save that for Pit Fighter. 😅
In a game of this style, you don’t really need a massive amount of different music styles. What we have with Biniax is a great tune, it fits the game and even adds to the game when things are getting a little frantic. You get some nice retro sound effects when blocks are falling, you make a wrong move or clear some blocks.
Just like other Songbird Production releases in 2021, Biniax 2 comes in a bright, glossy box that is the size of a standard Atari Lynx box. It's colouring is true to the game. The manual is a fairly small CD insert type of booklet and the cart is a curved lip style injection moulded cartridge (without the Fuji logo on the back). The whole package looks great.
This is a very playable game. It's easy to pick up, it's fun and has great replay value. It's not a game you're going to spend hours on though. If you're looking for a deep, task filled challenge, you may want to look elsewhere as these types of games never deliver that experience. If you enjoy pick up and play fun, puzzle games and are looking for something different on the Lynx, this game is for you. You can pick this game up time and time again for short blasted fun. Simplicity is key - it just works. It looks nice for what it is and its very addictive fun. You get 2 versions of the game and a cool box to go along with the rest of your collection. Being a Lynx collector is a good place to be with games like this!