After the overwhelming success of Tetris a lot of companies decided to try their hand at making a puzzle game. While none were as good as Tetris, there were a few that came close and managed to cut out their own niche in the ever widening genre. Tricky Kick is one such game. While not really similar to rest of the block falling puzzle games, it's based upon the idea that may be familiar to some - moving and positioning objects in such a way that one may be knocked into the other, thus removing them from the playfield.
The story behind Tricky Kick takes place long before written history, in a time when the world was full of creatures such as elves and fairies. A forest called "Meril" was a special place where young Oberon lived, friend to all the forest creatures. Unfortunately, as evil sorceress named Kymera found the forest and was overcome with jealousy at its beauty. In her rage, she put a curse upon Oberon and his offspring - they were doomed to be lost in a maze-like world full of awful creatures. They could not escape until they destroyed all of the creatures within the maze.
Fortunately, Oberon's family was blessed with a special, powerful kick known as - you guessed it! - tricky kick. This kick gave them the ability to clear their path of all obstructions and to slam their enemies together with such force that they would be destroyed. As an Oberon, it is your quest to dispel the curse upon the family name.
While the story is only based upon the one character, Oberon, there are actually six different scenarios based upon the same game scheme. The differences are in the appearance of the backgrounds and in the objects that must be destroyed. Each character has ten rounds to clear, but they don't have to be done sequentially - you may clear three for one character and then jump to a different scenario to work if you get stuck. All 60 must be cleared before you may advance, however. Advance? Yes, after the first 60, there's another set of 60 that is your to conquer. The second 60 is accessible by typing in a given password, but ONLY after you've beaten the first 60.
Each character's scenario begins with a short graphic storyline, after which it's time to get your brain in gear. Control of your character is simple; movement is along standard lines. One button is used to kick an object, and the other button is used to recall your last move (a handy option, believe me). The greater part of the round will probably consist of staring at the screen, trying to figure out what to kick first, where to kick it and looking ahead as much as possible to try and predict the outcome of each movement. Don't waste too much time, however. There is a time limit for each screen, and your score is partially based upon the time remaining when a round is completed. The lower levels of scenario must be completed before the higher ones may be attempted, but a password feature is available so that progress made will not be lost.
The object of each round is to move matching figures into a position so that they may be kicked at one another, at which point they will slame into each other and disappear. Players must be careful not to trap objects in corners or put more than two together, or the objects then become impossible to move. While this may sound fairly easy, it is much more difficult when seen. Strategy and thinking ahead are the key, and even then, mistakes often require starting a round over completely.
Tricky Kick's visuals and audio are okay. The graphics and sound aren't the backbone of the game - playability is. The challenge of some of the puzzles contained within Tricky Kick will keep most people busy for quite some time. If you are looking for a puzzle-solving challenge, this game provides it in a nice package - difficult, but nice. With 160 rounds, even the most experienced puzzle master will find some challenge in this TurboGrafx-16 gem.