Game Over Online ~ POX

GameOver Game Reviews - POX (c) Zenops, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher POX (c) Zenops
System Requirements Pocket PC
Overall Rating 82%
Date Published Monday, January 28th, 2002 at 05:25 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

POX is an interesting spin on the now ubiquitous and nearly canonical game of Tetris. A cursory glance at this title will rouse fond memories of Dr. Mario as well. The premise around POX, as the name suggests, is a battle against diseases. There are eight different types of bacteria represented by the various colours and tiles in the game. There is also an opaque resistant bacterium that will not dissolve until an antibiotic pill drops by. All of this sounds quite reminiscent of Dr. Mario but the connotations to Tetris set in afterwards. You line up your bacteria more or less like you do with Tetris, with the exception that diagonal rows can be cleared as well. Zenops also includes the ability for the oncoming bacteria to break away. For example, you may choose to break up L-shaped multicoloured bacteria sets for better leverage. You leverage, of course, to score the highest amount of points and if you have elaborate planning skills you can easily choose between double, mega, giga, ultra or even monster bonus multipliers. These terms should surprise no one. They are uncannily similar to 1999's hit, Unreal Tournament, complete with narration.

The title is dressed up in all sorts of visual splendor right from the bacterium themselves to the actual gameplay board. The sound effects are equally varied. You get a plethora of sound cues and responses to the in game action, especially to multiplier bonuses and other special events. I was charmed by the visual style and the audio components. Their combination was definitely a positive fait accompli. In fact, you can even customize the sounds and images with expansion packs in the future. The graphics scroll along at a silky smooth rate and you will definitely notice this because of the gameplay's excellent pacing. It is not as slow as Tetris but not too fast as to be devoid of all strategic thinking.

Currently, POX is available for PC and Pocket PC platforms. The developers have quite an ambitious multi-platform strategy. Their four-pronged assault will take POX to Palm and Game Boy Advance units as well. One of the things they failed to capitalize on in POX is the exciting head to head play, either with an AI player or through some sort of network (IR, Bluetooth, Wireless LAN, Ethernet or otherwise). Another welcome addition would be some sort of world motif. Since this title rests solely on the fact that you are fending off bacterial and viral hordes, it would have been nice for you to assume the body's defences in various parts of the body. For example, you could progress from the relatively easy (paper) cuts to more serious internal illnesses. Although the visuals are great, this sort of motif would introduce even more variety to the game's art.

In spite of this, POX manages to be a fun title. It's not overly complicated and the speed allows it to appeal to action fans who would otherwise shun it for being too calculated. Likewise, POX has some great cross-platform potential because such gameplay is easily adapted to other platforms. However, as gaming development for handhelds progresses, the prospective audience comes to demand quality multiplayer as integral to any title. This is becoming true for Pocket PC and Palm titles with the rise of wireless and the connected PDA. It is nearly an absolute requirement for the PC and Game Boy Advance.

[09/10] Addictiveness
[16/20] Gameplay
[12/15] Graphics
[08/10] Interface/controls
[08/10] Program Size
[05/05] Sound
[04/05] Discreetness
[12/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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