SENOKA LITE
guide

As pairs of blocks fall from above, your task is to match the blocks' colours to the lines they are on.

As more blocks fall, join blocks of the same colour together, and build up or down towards their line.

Play three different modes: Challenge, Marathon, Practice. Pairs of blocks fall faster and faster - have you got what it takes to win?

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Available from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Note: all videos and screenshots are currently of the Xbox 360 version.

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The rules: blocks fall, top to bottom, in pairs. Guide the blocks left and right into a column, maybe swap them over, and drop them into place. If a block's colour matches the line it's on, it gets removed - and takes away any adjacent blocks of the same colour.

People suggest it's similar to Tetris. As similar as it may be, I hate Tetris. Either I play a Tetris game and it's too slow, and it just feels boring. Or, it plays too quick, and it's too tricky to fill in all the gaps. Concentrating on clearing a single line makes every other line go wrong... and then I die. Not fun!

My favourite childhood puzzle game was the classic Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. It was simple to play, encouraged creating massive combos, had great artificial intelligence, and that brilliant (and annoying) feature where clearing beans on your side put those evil beans on the other player. It was exciting; it was fun. And unlike Tetris, the game board cleans itself up as beans are removed.

I wanted Senoka to have similar features. It's simple. It encourages creating combos. It has great artificial intelligence. And clearing blocks on your side throws dirty blocks on the other players. It starts slow, it gets fast. It's up to 4 players, with an additional 4 computer players. It has a drunk mode. These are good things.

I originally came up with Senoka back in 2002, under the generic name of "Blocks." I built it with Delphi and DirectX, and it was rather decent. I didn't have much programming experience back then, and it was a good game project to take a crack at. It's been shelved since then, as I didn't have any outlet for it (no website, nor online store to sell it in). After discovering Xbox Live Indie Games, and XNA, I thought I'd give it a proper go.

When Microsoft released Windows Phone back in 2010, I paused any efforts on my Xbox version of Senoka, and instead ported it to Microsoft's new platform. Due to the platform, I've had to remove some features - there is no multiplayer, neither against people nor computer players. I've also removed some of the fancier graphics features so it runs on the phone's hardware. Its home is on the Xbox, but it's on holiday on Windows Phone. Here it is.

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