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Atari 2600 Cakewalk Review
I keep working hard to get my hands on these Commavid titles, but I think I am hitting up against the limit of my ability to lay my hands on rare titles. I had heard about Cakewalk and as a fan of Tapper, I was excited to give it a try. The game puts you in the role of some sort of Chef/Baker who is working hard to get cakes packaged and rolling off an assembly line. Sounds like my kind of game!
The game looks great. Lots of great Commavid touches on this one. Including an animated splash screen, game music, AND sound effects. Commavid also gives us some nice detail on the main characters and good in-game animation. They even throw in the unexpected, in the form of a janitor. Who cleans up after your digital mistakes. Oh, and you will have a lot of mistakes while trying to master this game. Because it challenges the brain and sanity of all who play it.
As I mentioned, the game is like Tapper. So you have a bunch of horizontally moving objects that you need to address. The problem is, and this could be a flaw in the game system or in my ability to play it, the items move too quickly. Sure they give you a very liberal grab zone for the cakes, but you only have one other trick in your arsenal for dealing with cakes moving too quickly and too far apart. You can turn off ONE conveyor belt for a few seconds.
I played a few dozen times and every time I thought I was mastering the game and getting the timing down, I would get trapped in a cascading disaster moment. That means I shut off one belt and when I am dealing with a cake at one side of the screen, another cake falls. Which means I lose a life.
While the janitor is cleaning up the cake (adorable), I check out the screen and realize I do not have the amount of time to get the other cakes that are about to fall. So I try to move to the next cake, but then another cake falls, and that sequence repeats itself. Knowing you are about to lose a life is much more horrifying than actually losing a life. Still, even though I found that to be a real flaw, the gameplay is compelling and interesting enough to have me resetting it time and again.
Cakewalk is a very rare game by the company Commavid and it is very polished. I think it would make an excellent addition to anyone’s Atari 2600 collection. Still, the game gets exceedingly difficult very quickly, and no amount of charm will overcome that impediment. I want to give this game a higher score, but I think I will have to settle for the very average 3 stars. This would be for or even 5 if it seemed possible for me to figure out how to succeed at higher levels.