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PSP  header logo

Fortix (Minis)

For: PSP

Tower blocked

Product: Fortix | Developer: Nemesys | Format: PSP | Genre: Arcade, Retro, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Fortix PSP, thumbnail 1
Just how fast should a cannon fire? It’s possibly not the sort of thing that you’re likely to think of when you go to bed at night, but it is a question I’ve been contemplating for the last few days.

It’s the fault of Fortix, see. Essentially a D&D themed remake of 1980s arcade title Qix, this PSP Minis effort throws you into a top-down landscape at centre of which is a fort that you have to reclaim.

As a knight who travels on a ‘baseline’, you must fence off segments of the scenery by venturing from the safety of the baseline and capturing the largest amount of land, returning to the baseline before any of the hazards hit your or, crucially, the unfinished line you draw behind you as you move through open space.

Those dangers involve dragons (three types of increasing ferocity exist), blood bats (which travel quickly along the baseline) and the aforementioned cannons.

The latter are dotted around as turrets and, as with every other opponent on the map, must be boxed in so as to destroy them. Alternatively, encircling axe icons found on the landscape will result in the activation of a catapult and the obliteration of a cannon tower.

Helping you further are power-up icons that appear randomly and give access to additional abilities such as a burst of speed, invincibility, cannon ball freeze, extra life, dragon freeze, one dragon kill, and extra time.

Time is important because the game limits how much you have in each of the 12 levels, thereby forcing you to capture the land - and eventually the fort - as quickly as possible.

It’s a simple concept and one that proves addictive, although certain imbalances cause much frustration. Ignoring the odd bug that can result in the annoying loss of a life (you start with three); the power-ups last too brief a period (and with no visual or audio cue it’s difficult to judge when they’re about to run out), and they often appear in areas you have little chance of reaching before they disappear; and the difficulty curve seems uneven (I found the third level dastardly yet breezed through 10 and 11).

The cannon fire, too, is both too fast and frequent - particularly when having to trudge through the slower parts of the map (your speed is affected by the type of terrain you’re on). This effectively reduces your land capture ability into a baby step-like approach, rather than satisfying manly strides (unless you get lucky with a power-up).

Adding to these issues are long loading times in between each retry (and you will face many retries) - or even when returning to the menu following a successful sortie - which is particularly annoying given the game’s simple graphical treatment.

It’s particularly disappointing because there’s an undeniable attraction at the heart of Fortix - you do keep coming back to it until you’ve seen the lacklustre ending screen. But with a little more tweaking it could have been a title that found itself regularly in use, way beyond the week or so it will hold your interest.

Note: Screenshots shown are taken from the PC version, but level design aside, the two versions are virtually identical.

10/2/10 - Nemesys has announced a Fortix update.

Fortix (Minis)
Reviewer photo
Joao Diniz Sanches | 12 October 2009
Simple, addictive and entertaining concept that could have been dangerously compulsive with a little more balance and polish
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