Atari's response to the Tetris mania in the early 90s. Originally a coin-op, afterwards released on just about every computer and console available at that time, from Amiga to Nintendo's GameBoy.

In Klax multicolored blocks are rolling down on a "conveyor belt". You must grab the blocks and arrange them on a 5x5 playfield, putting three (or more) of the same colour in a row. This is called a Klax.
Once you get a Klax it will disappear, creating much-needed space on the playfield. Horizontal and diagonal Klaxes are worth more points, as well as multi-Klax combos. Naturally, you can't miss grabbing hold of more than 3-5 blocks, or it's game over time.
The device you're controlling allows you to hold multiple blocks at the same time and throw a block back to the belt for a while.

At least for me, the best part of the game are the different goals in each level, for example 5 diagonals or 25000 points. This makes Klax much less monotonic and repetitive than it could be.

The graphics are bright and flashy, pretty usual coin-op stuff. There are some hilarious sound effects which set a nice mood for the game. I would recommend getting the original arcade version instead of a computer/console clone, although many of them are pretty similar.

Klax can be an incredibly frustrating game. Since it was originally an arcade machine, it's designed to be really hard in order to get as much money as possible from the players. You need to complete the objectives quickly or the constant stream of falling blocks becomes too fast to handle. Luckily, when emulating the coin-op you can just keep inserting virtual cash for retries.

The tips shown before each level can be quite dubious.
My personal favorite: Play Klax every day!
A Klax analogy.

Say the tiles in Klax represent problems in life.

When you are faced with a tile, you can either:

  1. Deal with it (strategically put it in the bucket)
  2. Put it off (flip it back up the conveyor belt)

Of course, it's easier in the short term to flip the tile back and get around to filing it later.

But do this too often and not only do you have to face the new tiles, but the OLD ones you just chucked back!

Hence you get completely swamped and start to panic.

'And that's like life, isn't it!'. So the message is, don't put off or ignore problems. You'll only get fucked in the end.


This concludes the 'great thoughts while high' season.

Platforms

Atari/Tengen has published official Klax® brand games for at least the following systems:

Homebrew game publisher Pin Eight plans to introduce an unofficial version for the Game Boy Advance called "Convey" in 2003. Further details are unavailable as of this writing.

I find the NES version to have the best control among all versions I've played. In addition, it's one of the few versions to have real background music during gameplay; the others have only sound effects.

Screenshot

               ___________
              /           \
                      __
             /  /  | |--\  \
          
SCORE       /__    ' `      \
   281230   |__|         \
           /      ,   .      \   <= Conveyor belt with
KLAX LEFT          ___              three tiles on it
        2 /   /   |___|   \   \
           _______ ___ _______
          [__(X)__|___|__(_)__]  <= Paddle holds 5 tiles
           |                 |      (in front of drop meter)
           |                 |
           |_________________|
          /|                 |\
          ||                 ||
         /||   ___           ||\ <= Bin holds 25 tiles
        / ||__/___|          || \
       /  /___|___|__________||  \
WAVE 06   |___|___|___|___\___\   \
      \___________________________/
There are actually at least eight colors of tiles, plus a flashing wildcard tile.

Controls

  • Joystick left, right: Move paddle
  • Joystick down: Advance tiles faster
  • Joystick up: Throw top tile halfway up the conveyor
  • A: Drop tile into bin

Advancing levels

A 3-in-a-row of the specified type counts as one KLAX for advancing to the next level. A 4-in-a-row counts as two, and a 5-in-a-row counts as three. This does not increase in chains. Some levels require the user to survive n tiles or to score n thousand points.

Making a KLAX stops the conveyor belt for about two seconds. Thus, it is possible to make a vertical 4- or 5-in-a-row. You can make a horizontal or diagonal KLAX chain to a vertical 4-in-a-row, or you can "manual combo" by placing three tiles in one place, then finishing a vertical 4- or 5-in-a-row before the conveyor starts again. (Manual combo works in Klax and in Magical Drop but not in Tetris Attack.)

Scoring

Most games give 5 points per tile caught. Points are also awarded for KLAXes:

  • 3-vertical: 50; 4-vertical: 10,000; 5-vertical: 15,000
  • 3-horizontal: 1,000; 4-horizontal: 5,000; 5-horizontal: 10,000
  • 3-diagonal: 5,000; 4-diagonal: 10,000; 5-diagonal: 20,000

Making one KLAX and then making another KLAX through chain-reaction or manual combo earns 2x points for the second KLAX, 3x points for the third, 4x points for the fourth, etc. Making two KLAXes at once (such as a horizontal and diagonal) scores 2x; making one KLAX and then two (e.g. a horizontal that chains to two verticals) scores 1x and then 3x. In general: In each step of a chain, you get the basic number of points for the KLAXes made in that step times the total number of KLAXes made so far in the chain.

In points waves, any points scored over the requirement count double.

Want examples of high-scoring combinations? See http://dlh.net/cheats/snes/english/klax/faq.html

At the end of a level, you get 200 points for every empty space in the bin and 25 points for every tile on your paddle or on the conveyor. There's also a substantial bonus for using the warp at the end of every fifth wave.

Initial waves

Wave Requirement
 01    3 KLAXes
 02    5 KLAXes
 03    3 Diagonals
 04   10 K Points
 05   40 Tiles
 06   10 Klaxes
 07    3 Diagonals
 08   55 Tiles
 09   25 K Points
 10    5 Horizontals
 11   15 Klaxes
 12   13 Diagonals
 13   75 Tiles
 14   25 K Points
 15   10 Horizontals
 16   15 Klaxes
 17   13 Diagonals
 18   75 Tiles
 19   30 K Points
 20   13 Horizontals
(continued on http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~QK3A-YJM/RGG/KLAX/HINT.HTM )
Make a big X on wave 11 for a warp to wave 56.

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