Title           Poing
Publisher       Paul van der Valk
Game Type       Sport
Players         1 - 2 (sequentially)
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   All Amigas
Game data/utils Extra levels on aminet.
Submission      Dennis Smith  Profiled Reviewer

Don't judge this breakout clone on your first impressions. It looks very
dated with a simple-looking bat, ball and bricks; the music sounds odd,
sort of chip music, very percussive. Play a few games, let it sink in.
The simple appearance masks a very well tuned Arkanoid clone. The game's
been in development since 1992 and all of that development has been on
gameplay and as such there's nothing to fault it. That music is actually
algorhythmically generated so you'll never hear the same tune twice,
which is helpful when you're going to spend so many hours in front of it.
OK, it's nothing special but it never has time to get annoyingly
repetitive - and you can turn it off.

How it actually plays is quite revolutionary. You play horizontally with
the bat to the left, but the aim is not, for once, to destroy the bricks.
Instead you simply have to hit the right hand wall ten times to break it
down so you can progress to the next level. This isn't always as easy at
it sounds, as groups of bricks reappear once you've cleared them all, and
each level may contain a number of groups. Then comes the ingenious bit -
if you lose the ball on the second level, instead of losing a life, it
falls back to the first level - albeit at high speed - giving you a chance
to stop it before you lose it on that level. There can be as many as eight
levels in each stage, so if you lose the ball on the eighth level, you
have seven screens in which you can retrieve it before you finally lose a

There are plenty of Arkanoid-like extras, and plenty that aren't derived
from Arkanoid, which is refreshing. Like pinball, you're building up a
bonus, and so you can get bonus-multipliers and add-to-the-bonus and
score-bonus extras. Trace mode makes the almost infallible computer take
control for a while, slow-down bonus slows the ball down (as usual, it
has been slowly increasing in speed). Bonuses reduce or increase (bad
bonuses) the number of times you must hit the right hand wall or promote
the ball straight to the next level. The most evil bonus makes gravity
affect the ball until such a time as you lose the ball on a level. There
are plenty of special bricks - some must be hit several times, some give
bonus instead of score, some bounce the ball back at a different angle,
or faster (briefly) or both. There are bricks which must be 'broken
through', movable bricks which can be batted around, magnetic bricks,
teleporters, smart bombs and more. The variety leads to plenty of very
different levels.

On top of this, there's a level editor which gives you control over all
the features - scoring, gravity level and bonus points as well as brick
placement, stage length, and number of levels.

And it's all freeware. If you've any time for bat and ball games, get
this; it is, in my opinion, far away the best of all the free Arkanoid
clones (and I've played most of them, believe me), and more playable than
most of the commercial and shareware offerings out there. Furthermore,
once you've played it you'll understand the last three paragraphs much
better. Find someone to compete against on the high-score tables and it's
even better. Get breaking bricks now!

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