Publisher: Firebird
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #26

Kinetik | PS | SJ | JR | Verdict


Kinetik is a strange place. To look at, it's a perfectly normal planet, colourfully vegetated and dotted with cool tranquil ponds. However, the occupants of a spaceship that landed on the planet surface have just discovered that the beauty is only skin deep...

In the darkest depths of the planet lives the Kinemator, an infinitely powerful creature who bends and reverses the laws of physics. When the spaceship entered his domain he decided not to let it return to orbit until three giant letters were collected from positions around the planet and delivered to him.

The player controls the spaceship, a spherical craft capable of movement anywhere within the confines of the screen. Move to the extreme left or right and a fresh screen is brought into view. On each screen, the laws of gravity are different, so the spaceship comes under the influence of powerful inertia forces, bouncing off vegetation and landscape features.


Contact with a floating alien depletes the ship's shield, represented as an on-screen bar which diminishes in three steps towards a fatal zero. Weakened shields are restored to full strength by picking up a 'flower-power' pod or by flying the ship through water.

The objective is to travel through 43 screens, pick up the three letters - P, A and X - and present them to the Kinemator on the 44th and final screen. There are five


Attractive it may well be, but playable and compelling it most certainly is not. Kinetik is a run of the mill arcade adventure/platform game with an innovative, but ultimately worthless, control method.


Movement requires a lot of effort and even more patience, and you don't have much time to concentrate on the game itself as you wrestle with the joystick.

To make matters worse, there aren't many locations to explore, and there are even less puzzles to solve. In fact, the objective is basically very dull - simply progress as far right as possible, avoiding and shooting creature while fighting to control the ship.

Such a pity - if the control method was easier to get to grips with and there was more to do, Kinetik would have been wonderful.


The major theme of Kinetik is the odd inertial and gravitational forces exerted upon the spaceship - and the programmers certainly went to town on them. Some screens are desperately difficult to overcome and as it is relatively easy to lose a life, the last thing you want is an uncontrollable spaceship whizzing all over the place.

After several frenzied attempts, I eventually had to give up because my arm was aching through the effort! Kinetik is a nice idea which fails to entertain and is therefore worthless.


I've played a few games with strange control methods in the past, but this one is the strangest of the lot.

Throughout the quest you have to battle against the joystick to try and counter the powerful inertial and gravitational forces. Some screens are frustrating beyond belief as it takes ages just to get the spaceship to move left or right.

Escaping a screen sometimes takes a minute or two or severe joystick waggling, which eventually becomes annoying. Personally I prefer to pit my wits against a troublesome sprite - not the joystick.


Presentation 81%
Generally pleasant, with sound on/off and keyboard/joystick options.

Graphics 86%
Very pretty hi-res backdrops and sprites.

Sound 63%
Adequate spot effects and jingles.

Hookability 49%
The incredibly fussy control method makes the game very difficult to play... and enjoy!

Lastability 50%
Almost too difficult to be worthwhile, although perseverence may bring some reward.

Value For Money 49%
Not enough variety or challenge to warrant an eight pound price tag.

Overall 56%
Ignore the unusual control method and all you have is an average arcade adventure.

Kinetik | PS | SJ | JR | Verdict