Porolith Flash


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JayPorolith Flash

At first glance, the latest offering from Taro Ito's GameDesign.jp appears to be just another Tetris clone, but closer inspection reveals gameplay dependent upon color rather than shape. In Porolith Flash, the objective is to stack and group shapes of the same color together to remove them from play.

In this very simple puzzle game designed by Yotan, the [right], [left], and [down] arrow keys are your only controls. Unlike its almost visual twin, Tetris, you cannot flip the block formations to stack them neatly. Instead, the unwieldy stacks that form become integral to the gameplay. This changes up the strategies commonly used in Tetris, and therefore makes for a fresh new variation on the theme.

Blocks begin to appear in a wider variety of colors as the game progresses, and the rate at which they drop also increases, which gives the game an arcade look and feel.

Analysis: As with other GameDesign games, Porolith features the elegant simplicity that we have come to expect from Ito-san. He has taken the design from someone named Yotan, and turned it into a game that fits in nicely with the others on the site. It's not a very deep game, but it offers replay value for anyone looking for a game that is quick and easy to play.

A brand new take on a classic, Porolith offers simple, casual gameplay that will have you coming back to it often.

Play Porolith Flash

27 Comments

Okay it is not often that i will think this but .. This game was awful, in my opinion ... An almost to basic game concept that was ruined with lack of presentation and lack of explanation .. i was playing the game without knowing my goal .. without knowing what i needed to advance to the next color of blocks or level per say .. i still do not know exactly what it is that made the bocks dissappear other than they had to be of the same color and grouped =( .. sorry for the bad outlook but thats all i got

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Jesse - perhaps you're expecting too much from this very simple game.

It's about grouping colors. It says so on the first screen along with the 3 keys that are your only controls in the game.

It's an arcade game with open-ended play, which means you simply play until you lose.

There's really not much else to it. If you're familiar with Taro Ito's other games, you can see the elegant simplicity in the design as I mentioned in the review.

Don't expect a deeply involved, multi-level game with power-ups, because this isn't it.

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I played until I was juggling 8 colors, then gave up out of boredom. Even when the board is a mess, if you place blocks well then you can set up chain reactions that clear a lot of space in a hurry.

I wasn't expecting too much, but still, there were two very basic things that were missing from this game (IMHO):
-- ability to *rotate* blocks
-- no score display during play
neither of those would've been particularly difficult to add, nor would they have interfered with the game's simplicity. (Well, the score display may have, admittedly, but how can a falling-block game not allow rotation?)

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I agree about the missing score. All games require some sort of feedback the player can view to gauge their relative success with it.

However, the rotational aspect I believe would make this game a little too much like Tetris, and if it's Tetris I want, Tetris I'll play.

That being said, I believe we have all been jaded by the success of Tetris a little too much to appreciate a game like this. As much as I love Taro Ito's simple designs, I can't say as I am compelled to play this one again and again as some of his others. Again, I think it's because even without the rotation, the game is a little too much like Tetris to capture the hearts of many gamers.

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I guess i was a little harsh the first time around and i apologize =) but the game is lacking not in the sense that its a simple design or a simple game but as you said jay its lacking the used feedback .. it felt without that i had no purpose to continue playing and lacked the amount of replay because the only thing i have to base as a high score to beat is the number of current colors

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Earl Grey April 5, 2007 2:13 AM

This is neat! One element that makes the game so smooth is NOT having the scores.

Cheers E.G. (reforming kdice junkie)

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I know at least one of you out there doesn't like me complaining about this, but as one of these people this issue is very important to me. The issue is this : Color blind people (1/5th (That's one out of every five people for you folks that think we don't exist.) of all males and a not so large amount of females) are really at a disadvantage when it comes to most people's clever new puzzle games. They choose colors that may look great to them, but they are colors that we can't differentiate between.

There are several tools online to help with choosing color palettes that can be easily digested by color blind people and that still look good to you "normal" types. I would like to see more people care about this.

This was a very fun game for me to play until I had cleared two groups. After that, I had four colors on screen, but thought that I only had two. As you might imagine, that makes the gameplay a bit difficult. Random, at best.

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Oh yeah, today is my birthday. I'm old enough to be a curmudgeon, now.

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Happy Birthday, l0ser. =)

And yes, I do care. In fact, that's why I mentioned the gameplay is dependent upon color in the first paragraph. If I had given the game a bit more critique as I like to do, I would have mentioned the lack of feedback and the dependency on color as areas for improvement. Perhaps even having a unique symbol appear on each color would suffice.

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Not bad, the best 'tetris clone' I've seen in a while. I have a minor control complaint. I'm a long time 'tetris for windows' key TAPPER, not a key HOLDER, and as such I found that whilst I could tap the keys happily as fast as I can, the block would not respond properly, it would just step along at a fixed (slower) rate.

From the looks of the way it was behaving, it looks like its a setting in the actual program, rather than a slow computer my end.

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I think being colour-blind in this case could be an advantage, because, quite frankly, this is not much of a game.

As for the argument that "roation isn't implemented because it would be too much like Tetris", I don't think it holds water. Lack of rotation just makes this game even worse and dumber compared to Tetris, it doesn't make it "more original".

I like simplicity, and I like creativity. This game is admittedly simple, but creative it is not. In the world without Tetris, perhaps this little piece of Flash could be called interesting, maybe even original. In the world we live in though, this looks like an afterthought, an unsuccesful experiment that tried to answer a not-so-interesting question of how it would be if in Tetris you had to group the colours instead of making complete lines.

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I like this game. It's a bit more unpredictable than Tetris, but I was never very good at Tetris anyway. It's the sort of game I can always come back to and play if I have a few minutes to squander... there are quite a few like that at gamedesign.jp. I thought the music was spot-on, especially the frantic techno when you reached the highest speed.

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I actually like this game :3 It's plesant as it is, though at the same time if feels like it could be filled up a bit for a deeper experience. It would be nice if a small number appeared over a group saying how many groups were in a cluster, and the addition of a shape preview (sans color) could add an interesting strategy element.

BUT, regardless I do find this an enjoyable experience in itself :3

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I got to the dark green blocks. In 4 attempts, my high score was 175.

Personally, I was put off by the lack of a 'next' indicator, which put the emphasis more on reactions and less on thought, and the lack of a constant score display.

Also, I found the 'music' a tad irritating.

I do really like the 'incline, sudden drop, repeat' mode of speed increase, which they used.

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i too liked the increasing-speed cycle thing on this game. synching it with the music was a good idea.

for some odd reason, i had no problem disconnecting myself from all of the tetris games i've played in the past, and i think that significantly affected my view of this game. i really liked the color-grouping challenge this game gave, and i rarely saw any connection to "that other game" at all. the frantic pace held my interest the entire time, especially as i was trying to juggle about seven different colors. my one complaint... i don't mind having no score on-screen... but how is the score determined? that's the one part i'm still not sure of.

nice find, i really like picks from gamedesign. thanks!

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I agree with the criticisms as to the difficulty of this game for people (like myself) who are color blind. However, I think the statistics are more like between 8 to 10% of males in the US, not 1 in 5 (20%). Some game designers choose to add a color-blind feature by substituting symbols for colors, but I think that conflicts with the graphic design intent in most cases. Usually the problem could be solved by just choosing colors that are a bit higher in contrast.

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I, for one, really like this game. I think it's a neat new spin on an old fun game.

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The strategies involved in Porolith are far more complex than those for tetris. The fact that you cannot rotate pieces makes planning ahead even more important. Those who think this game is too easy or boring have not played enough to comprehend the impressive subtleties of the game.

About the scoring, you get one point for every piece you place. It's that simple. I would like to see a running score, and a way to turn off the sound, but this is a very good game overall.

My High Score: 743 (I have played a lot)

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I just didn't understand the criteria for removal. Is it number of pieces? Number of blocks filled? It seemed arbitrary, so planning was impossible. I would also have liked a "next piece" visual, but I guess that represents not separating myself from "that other game." Ha! We do get a little pretentious don't we?!

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Beezlebub March 4, 2008 12:04 AM

I like the idea, an interesting variation on the Tetris theme. But... what's the strategy? I see people posting high scores of 600+, yet I can't get beyond 300. It's almost like the shape generator detects which shapes will give you the most trouble and delivers them... I tried keeping colors tightly grouped and then trying to keep as low as possible... yet, neither strategy seems to work very long. I'm stuck. Any hints??

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I am stuck on this game too. It looks like trying to keep all colors open is not possible once they go beyond 4 colors. Because when you have 6 colors at once, you can't keep them even. At that point Porolith will drop shapes 4 blocks wide and mess you up. Stacking high works fine with just 4 colors but not beyond that. Anybody have some useful hints??? -Phil

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Beezlebub October 4, 2008 12:20 PM

Still looking for hints on strategy. So little found on the Internet. There's definitely people who have developed a strategy that works... if only they'd share some hints. I keep coming back to this game to try again, but no luck. :-(

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I love this game but found that every now and again the control goes "berserk" and throws the cascading blocks to the left side without any control. I wondered if this is part of the game but have found that it can happen at any random time of the game, even at the beginning wnen we are supposed to be on the easy section of the game. Has any one found this and what am I doing wrong?

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When the blocks go all to one side, left for example, and it won't respond to the right arrow, hit the left arrow and then the right, and you'll be back in control.
R

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Beezlebub August 6, 2010 2:10 AM

Seems this game has been abandoned... far too many other attractive games have replaced it. It's a shame, really. This game had a lot of potential. The music is enjoyable too. But it is way too difficult for any extended play.

The game takes every opportunity to trip you up by throwing large pieces at you, preventing you from keeping colors connected. And trying to build up along the sides keeps failing, because the large pieces end up causing collisions below the new piece entry point.

If only the designer had enabled rotation, as in original Tetris. This would make game play far more sustainable.

If the game was popular enough, there would be posted strategies or example screen captures of solutions on YouTube. But there's nothing... Sad, really.

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I'm there with Beezlebub. What's the strategy with this game? I've played it for many hours across the past year, and the highest score I ever got was around 450. There are people who have gotten over 1000!

There must be some kind of layering scheme you need to do as the game gets more complicated, meaning that you need to create partial groupings of color and hope to later clear them out, because the wide shapes will foil your plans (create blockages). But I've tried all the techniques I can think of and still can't get anywhere near the high scores shown. There's got to be some trick to this. Anyone here figure it out????

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Finally. FINALLY! Got to 630.

The real key to getting this high is knowing that you will not always be able to join colors. The art of it is to develop an instinct as to what colors are more frequent and leave those ones exposed. Let the less common colors be stacked over more. You must try to keep the center clear. Use the sides and bottoms, trying to be sensitive to color AND shape.

Somehow, if you persevere at it, you start developing an instinct as to where to move shapes. I can't quite explain it. There are a lot of scores in the 600's, so I feel good about getting there. But beyond that, there's this guy asterisk "*" who gets over 1000. Amazing. :-)

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