The first game I ever played was Styx or Quix, or whichever variant you’ve heard of it. It’s one of the simplest, and still, to my mind, enjoyable games to play. For those of you who are too young to remember West Ham’s momentous FA Cup victory, a Labour government, Scotland qualifying for a World Cup and a hot summer, Powerstyx involves drawing lines around a screen in order to cordon off a random life-force which moves around.
If you can grab more than 75% of the screen you progress to the next level. Axiom’s version takes its lead from the recently revived coin-op in which a picture is revealed as you complete chunks of the screen.
In Powerstyx various icons will occasionally float across the screen which, should you guide your marker into one of them, will result in a change in the game. There’s general disagreement over what some of them are meant to represent. Nick Kelly has it that it’s a banana that speeds you up, I say it’s a tube of paint. Then there’s something that looks to me like a Eurocheque symbol. Either way it takes you to the next screen.
Question marks may give you anything at random including the loss of a life, as will the cross that floats across the void.
It’s not only the icons that are a bit dodgy graphically. The backgrounds you reveal are all pretty disappointing artistically. They display all the aesthetic taste of an Athena poster. You know the kind I mean, they invariably depict a woman with a red hat, holding a blue cocktail, whilst speaking on a pink telephone – all in yellow frame.
This might be forgivable if Powerstyx had the gameplay spot on. It doesn’t. It’s infuriatingly hard, and completely unrewarding. Sometimes you die again within an instant of having died. The controls are fiddly and in general I have to say I hate playing it though for some reason I keep coming back to it at the moment. I guess I’m just a pervert. Healthy minded people should avoid this.