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Super Stack
(Oren Bartal)


"A puzzle game that will have you reaching for the stars"

Welcome to a world where your mind is your greatest ally and hands will be your strength! In the land of Super Stack, you will be taken on a magical journey in the stars, where your job is to cast powerfull spells and "trap" the stars back where they belong.

Use your elixirs, spellbooks, and hourglasses to lower the stack of stars before they overwhelm your mind. And if you can, use your special chain reactions to trap even more bonus stars. Prepare your mind as you jest 48 challenging levels! Or, if you're up for another type of challenge, enter the fun mode and see if you can stack the most stars! Any way you stack it, Super Stack is going to be a wonderful journey!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Good)
It is so rare to find such flickerless, fluid animation in a QB game, and Super Stack delivers both graphic elements in bushels. Everywhere you look there's something to entice your eyes, from the flashing stars, to the dancing wizard that sits in the lower left of each level. The wizard in particular is a really nice touch and just being able to see him is enough reason for you to download this game.

My only crimp with this game is that I felt Super Stack could have used more backgrounds and maybe a few more graphics. At first glance, it isn't much of a problem since it's drawn so well anyway. But after a while, you can almost see through the grey background and the yellow stars that make up all of this game's levels.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
No music, but Super Stack does put together an impressive bevy of sound effects that remind me very much of Super Mario 64.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvvvv
Oren Bartal makes a very thorough point that this game is absolutely nothing like Tetris. I concur... this game is much closer to a cross between SNES's Tetris Attack and Kirby's Star Stacker for the Game Boy.

The key to this game is to "trap" stars by positioning them between trapping pieces that match each other, whether it's an elixir, a spellbook, or an hourglass. If you can trap stars quicker than the stars stack up, then you become a "Super Stack" master. 

In addition to this simple formula, Oren also added ways to form "chain reactions" and "Super Stacks", which allow you to score bonus stars and give you further incentive to staple yourself to your computer until you beat this game.

But this isn't where the gameplay ends; in fact, this is very much where the gameplay begins. Oren does a maniacal job of twisting the game's 48 levels and forcing you to do incredible things to stack the stars. I won't spoil any of it to you, you simply have to try this game and find out what Perfect Gameplay is all about.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
Ummm... the thing is, Super Stack doesn't really have a story. I played through the game, checked out the text documents that come with this game, and even stood in front of the title screen for a while, waiting for some clues that would stack up this game's plot.

But Super Stack does offer some other things that could be taken as story elements. The floating wizard that shows up at the bottom left gives this game a more magical feel, and then there's the level description that also occurs at the very bottom of the screen that seem to direct your journey through this puzzle game. And neither of these additions really add to the gameplay, but they do give you the feeling like you're taking a magical adventure. Heck, this game even has an ending! So in all fairness, this game gets an average story score.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
(Very Good)
Not every mode in Super Stack is replayable. The Crazy levels are so difficult that a person would have to be masochistic to play them again after beating it.

However, after beating the Level Clearing mode, the Scoring "Fun" mode in the game is an excellent way to test your Super Stack skills on a regular basis. It gets pretty addictive trying to beat your best score, much in the same fashion as you're probably still trying to beat that Tetris score you made a while ago.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
If you don't know already, V Planet's rating system gives a whopping zero points for challenge if the game is near impossible. And in this sense, Super Stack was in the borderline between getting a perfect score for challenge and getting absolutely no points at all. Here's why.

The "Level Clearing" mode of this game has about 48 levels, which gradually increase in difficulty. The first 32 levels, considered to be the "Easy" and "Hard" levels of the game, can usually be overcome with a lot of skill and a little strategy. But some of the "Crazy" levels are a little too crazy. In these levels, timing is critical and you almost have to cross your fingers and hope that you receive the right pieces at the right time.

For example, it's very hard to trap stars if you have no trapping pieces. In the earlier levels this is an obstacle... in the Crazy levels it's almost a leap of faith. This is especially obvious in the last few levels, where you almost get the feeling that the computer is "hustling" you.

However, Super Stack is indeed beatable (I have the brain cramps to prove it). And if level clearing isn't your cup of tea anyway, you can always play the Score mode, where you see how many stars you can trap before the stack gets too high. Putting that into consideration, though Super Stack is pretty close to impossible, the game does provide a way to alleviate the stress.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Super Stack's Fun Factor depends on the game's many play modes, which tends to make the game too easy or too fun to enjoy. Part of the fun is the fact that the level clearing mode is such a challenge, since challenging games are a rarity in QB. And there is something hypnotic about the sound effects and the animated graphics that make up this puzzle game.

A few modes in particular are quite notable. The Score mode is worth playing as long as you put the challenge up to "Crazy" (any other mode is just too slow). You know what would really give this game some serious points? If Oren could give this game a 2-player competitive mode, I'll be psyched.

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: 6-9 hours Final Rating: 26/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wTo play Super Stack, unzip the file and run "SSTACK.EXE".

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