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Reviewed: Aha!
Author: Stuart Macdonald       Date: August 27th 1999
Page: 3

So, what else can there be? Well, setting aside the wonderfully involving gameplay for the time being, I'll focus on more trivial matters such as the interface, the graphics, and multiplayer (well, kind of multiplayer anayway). Starting with the graphics.

If you've had a chance to take a look at some of the screenshots yet, you'll have noticed that the graphics are very colourful (apart from the geometry theme which is just plain dull). When you move your mouse over a group of pieces on the playing field, the pieces will start to animate themselves. Whether it is spinning Ballons (in the Balloon theme... 'never!'), or moving faces in the Cartoons theme, all of the pieces are beautifuly animated, and really bring the game to life. The graphics are smooth and crisp, and the use of vibrant colours really will make it much easier for the younger childern to get involved in Aha! Which can't be a bad thing at all.

The Cartoons theme 'About' box
My (wonderful) high scores

If you hop on over to the official Aha! web site, you can take a look at another one of the main features fo the game - the online high score table (and you may even see my scores sitting up there with the best, but maybe not). The online high-score table is a bit of a cheap way to put multiplayer capacity into the game, but it really does bring the game on to a whole new level for me when I am trying to compete against other real people. Your best scores for each theme, and type of game are submitted via your default mail client which Aha! brings up for you when the send button at the bottom of the Aha! interface is clicked. All you then need to do is click the send button on your mail client, and wait a couple of minutes while your scores are added to the Aha! high-score table (I think it's in real time). Of course, if you do want true multiplayer, you can just team up with a friend, and see who can get the highest score on a certain theme. But that doesn't really count as multiplayer in my books.

My (shocking) high scores
Undo button to the rescue!!!

The sound in Aha! isn't really the best ever, but it can be customised very easily just by downloading a small midi song from the Internet, and replacing one of the current midi's that are supplied with Aha! To change the midi that is playing during the game, you just use the sound controls at the bottom right of Aha!'s interface to pause, play, fast forward, or rewind any track. All of the themes supplied with Aha! have their own unique sound scheme. When you click on a group of certain pieces, a quick sound will be played to indicate that you have indeed been sucessful in removing the pieces. In some themes (such as the Cartoons one), each different piece in the field has it's own unique sound, but this might not be done with future themes because of the hassle, and the increased file size of the theme that is caused by putting in more sounds.

And finally, the interface. Aha!'s interface is positioned around the screen for easy access to each function of the game. As I've already said, the music can be controled by using the bottom right corner of the interface, and you can send your results to the Aha! game server by clicking the send button at the bottom of the interface. There are buttons for new game, options, save field, load field (Innovations 'r Us!), and quit all positioned at the top of the Aha! game screen. Very simple, and extremely easy to use be it for the younger player or the *cough* less young *cough* player.

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Added:  Friday, August 27, 1999
Reviewer:  Stuart Macdonald
Page: 3/3

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