Imagine a cross between Tetris and Pipemania - if you know both those games, then you have the flavour of Loopz. You are presented with a squared board, and a series of pieces to fit together into complete loops - corners, stragith sections and devious dog-legs. Each section you git onto the board within a time limit wins a few points,a nd complete loops disappear to allow you more room. Incomplete sections gradually fill the board until you can't fit any more.
Loopz is easy to get into as, at the lower levels, you get lots of easy pieces at first. Take this opportunity to build a loop full of baroque twists and turns to score extra bonus points. But the easy pieces soon dry up and you're left with six loops all awaiting that elusice corner section. The higher levels give you less and less time to find each piece a home.
A variant of the basic game puts a complex loop on the screen, and you have to 'subtract' each of the pieces from it as they appear.
Loopz has the intrigue and instant playability of Tetris but is quite without the originality. There are both Beeb and Arc versions, with little difrerence in the game play. The usual keys move the piece around the board, and you can rotate it before dropping it into position with RETURN. Of course the Arc version has the option of mouse control - it helps! - better sound and graphics, with 'marbled' backgrounds and nicely shaded pieces of loop. Some of the later games are positively garish - rainbow hues and silvery tracery that's rather hard on the eyes. It runs from and returns to the desktop (using CTRL-ESC).
But then the Beeb version has music by BAU columnist Ian Waugh and perfectly adequate four-colour graphics. It's marred only by an annoying screen flicker every few seconds, and the fact that you need a 40-track or switchable disc drive.
On the Beeb, this is certainly a contender for the cash of novelty-starved eight-bit beep victims. The Arc version on the other hand, is a little on the expensive side.