Jinks logo


When Breakout broke out way back in '73, you probably never thought you'd be playing variations on TV ping pong for ever. Thankfully, fifteen years later, we're enjoying versions that possess only a passing resemblance to the original.

Jinks has taken the concept to new levels of sophistication using the Amiga's graphics and sound capabilities imaginatively and humorously. As clones go this is up there with the likes of Arkanoid, though it's in the sound department that it rides the leading edge.


Simplicity all too often becomes complexity in Jinks. You control a triangular bat with which you hit a ball, and (surprise!) your object is to clear the level of blocks, thereby gaining points. Each level spreads over three or four screen widths, and the Amiga scrolls with effortless ease over the whole width as you go. You've got to escape to new levels by knocking the ball into a goal mouth at the far right of the current level.

All very straightforward but not that simple. Things begin to get a little out of hand as you come across all manner of diverse objects. These include hazards such as magnets, Atari signs (a nice bit of internecine warfare) and fish heads, which half the size of your triangle if you touch them, making control that much more difficult.

Luckily you can return the bat to normal size by pushing the ball through red cross symbols. Other objects merely serve to randomise the flow of the ball by acting as rebound devices, whilst smiling pairs of chattering teeth will bring your game to an end if they can swallow the ball. All very bizarre.

When you complete a level, a single-screen interlude appears where you must knock the ball into one of four areas in order to proceed. There are only four levels, but as you progress their level of difficulty correspondingly increases. As of course does your frustration; getting the ball to go exactly where you want it to go is very, very difficult.


There is no doubt about it, Jinks looks stunning. All animated movement is extremely smooth - loose screws, paper clips, revolving earths and flying pigs spin and turn with ease against solid slow-scrolling backgrounds of moon craters and Amiga mice.

The foreground action is fast; a ball-smashed screen right disappears off screen leaving you to catch it. Sometimes all you catch is a glimpse as it bounces back in the opposite direction. Fortunately you can keep track of its progress from the digitised sounds produces as it collides with squeaking tedy bears, grunting pigs, and burping mouths. But when it comes to sound, best of all is the start up screen with its cool jazz-funk sample.


Jinks is best described as a hybrid rather than a clone. It effectively combines Breakout and Pinball in a surreal mix of ingenious humour. The result is a gameplay comprising sufficient randomness to ensure you're back to that jazz-funk intro day after day.
If there's one criticism it has to be the wait-states endured between level loadings but then the graphics and sound admirably compensate for this.

All in all, Jinks is a game which goes to prove that the Amiga can turn lightweight concepts into heavyweight productions. A real beauty!

Jinks logo

Rainbow Arts
Price: £19.95

Eeeeuuurggghhh! A bat, a ball. Bounce the ball and what d'ya get? BreakOut! Yes, Jinks is another clone. However, here the BreakOut idea has evolved to where it is barely recognisable. The plot is original, though it does not work very well with the game. Let me explain.

For a long time it has been thought that the planet Atavi was technically underdeveloped. Your mission is to go down onto the planet and collect samples of their technical data (or bounce a ball off some bricks).

The bat is now called a glider and can shift up as well as left to right. You can use the flat side of the bat to keep the ball bouncing in the same direction, or, by pressing fire your bat performs a flip and the ball bounces off at an angle.

Instead of being played on a static screen the playing area covers roughly six scrolling screens, which means it is easy to lose track of the ball.

The ball is also influenced by gravity, and sometimes another object veers the ball from its path.

Apart from the bricks there are other bonus objects to hit such as tiny versions of Earth and teddy bears. To hinder you the programmers have left huge mouths and an assortment of odd aliens.

If you get bored with your current level a well timed wallop should send the ball flying into the exit. Then you get the bonus screen where you can choose on which of the four levels to continue your game. There is one snag: the numbers corresponding to the levels are dotted around the screen and you have to bounce your ball into one of them.

As time draws on the game gets tougher. More traps appear and the nasties get nastier. But the game has only four levels. And four levels for 20 quid is bad news. On the other hand the graphics are really good in places.

The sound is also colourful with loads of twangy noises and samples. But the game is let down by the lack of levels and by the fact that all the levels are basically the same (graphics apart). Expensive for what is on offer, although an improved version with more levels would not go amiss.