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Ubi Soft Ltd
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Nick Roberts, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

It's all a question of balls. Steel ones to be precise. You see the object of the game is to pile these balls on top of each other in stacks of two or more to make them disappear. There are three different colours and lots of bonus balls too.

Placing a ball couldn't be easier. All you do is put the cursor on the ball you want to move, press fire then move the cursor to where you want the ball to be and press fire again. If the desired position is already taken up by another ball they swop places. To make things tricky, there's gravity so balls can roll downward unless properly supported.

Pick 'n' Pile is a matter of planning your moves ahead. You have to look at the random arrangement of balls on the screen and think about how best to manipulate them to get maximum points. Using bonus balls helps in points collection: some bonus balls just have numbers on them which are added to the final score, some have multiplication signs which means (you guessed it) you multiply the score by the number on the ball! For extra bonuses there are diamonds. Creating a column where the value is over 1000 points wins you a diamond and they vary in brilliance. If you collect 20 of these gems you will get a mega-bonus - wooo! There are also devils which eat away at your time, fire that can be used to support columns (!) and bombs that destroy all the balls in the surrounding area.

It gets really annoying when, just as you're about to complete one screen, you run out of matching balls! There is an option of calling extra balls if you run out but this can go on for ages before you finally find a matching pair!

The graphics used are definitely colourful and detailed but you can't go far with wrong balls! It's fun to play for a while but, in the end, there seems to be no real point to the game. Some people around the office have made a comparison to Puzznic but that was infinitely more challenging and much more interesting. With so many really good puzzle games around at the moment Pick 'n' Pile is not going to make my Christmas list this year.

NICK ... 62%


'What a load of balls (there are in this game)! Pick 'N' Pile is another 'shuffle like-coloured sprites around the screen and watch them disappear' style game, Plotting and Puzznic used the same system but they're far superior. The game starts off easy and carries on just as simply. The simplistic graphics and irritating intro tune don't help. Pick 'n' Pile is very mediocre fare.' MARK ... 50%

Lacklustre puzzle game that doesn't go anywhere.