My name is Ms .45 and I am an Arkanoid-clone addict. I love, love, love brick-breaking games. However, I'm not a sloppy Arkanoid addict. I expect my clones to be interestingly designed, with innovations on the basic gameplay and that little extra something to make me want to go back and play again and again. I first encountered Jardinains! several years ago, and only recently realised that—hey! Jay is Games doesn't have a review of this fantastic game! So I was really pleased to head back to the Jardinains! website and find a whole new version ready for me to download.
The little extra something in Jardinains! is the presence of 'nains—giggling little garden gnomes that will hurl potted plants at your bat, paralysing it and causing you to lose points. You can get your own back, though—if you can break the pot you win the points you would have lost, and if you can knock the giggling little bastards off their perch, you can bounce them on your paddle to get points and power-ups. If they spawn too fast, you'll end up stuck with a big stack of flowerpots on your bat and seemingly hundreds of them giggling inanely at your misfortune. It's like Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but with garden gnomes.
The sound effects and power-ups combine for pretty satisfying experiences. If you get an ice cannon, you can freeze the gnomes for gnomesicle-bouncing fun. An ice ball freezes the bricks, increasing the area frozen as you hit the target and making them shatter with a most gratifying sound. My favourite is the slow-motion power-up, resulting in bad action-movie moves as the gnomes yell "N - O - O - O - O - O..." as they fall.
While you have to pay to get the full version of Jardinains! 2, the demo is essentially a full game—the paid version gives you more levels, power-ups and different 'nains (look out for the pirate in the demo version). Jardinains! 2 contains the levels from the previous version of Jardinains!, but if you have trouble with it, you can also download Jardinains! 1.2. Oh, and for those of you who have complained, yes, this game is available for PC, Mac, and Linux.