SNES A Day 201: Cacoma Knight in Bizyland

Approximate Release Month: June 1993
Genre: Action/puzzle
Developer: SETA
Publisher: SETA

Cacoma Knight in Bizyland takes an arcade classic and makes it a little worse.

If you have played the arcade puzzler Qix before, you know what to expect with Cacoma Knight. You move your character around the edge of the screen, and you can draw lines into the center. Everything inside the walled-off area clears out when you connect one edge to another with a line. There are enemies riding along the edge that you need to dodge by drawing lines, as well as enemies in the center that will hurt you if they touch your line. Once you fill in the stage’s required percentage of space, you move on to the next stage.

It’s a simple game.

Where Cacoma Knight kinda falls apart is when it tries to do something that Qix doesn’t. For example, each level starts as a dark and decayed version of what gets revealed as you fill in the play area. The restored parts of the screen have lots of color and detail, which is nice, but enemies and projectiles blend in easily sometimes and the game has to pause to load the new artwork in. Things get a little too visually, uh, “bizy” for such a simple game.

The lack of clarity extends to other aspects of the game. For example, there are several treasure chests hidden in each level. These chests hold powerups such as extra speed or invincibility. Cacoma Knight doesn’t tell you where these treasure chests are, so it just ends up being something you stumble upon. Which is fine, I guess. I think if they were visible it could be an interesting way to add a little more strategy to a too-thin experience.

There are three different characters you can play as: a boy, a girl, and a robot. I think they all play differently, though I couldn’t tell a difference between the boy and the girl. The robot, however, was incredibly slow. Slow enough that I thought my controller was broken. Maybe the robot can take more hits before losing a life or something? The robot’s tradeoffs might become more clear in the cooperative multiplayer mode.

There’s not a lot of things to say about Cacoma Knight in Bizyland. Basically, almost every twist on the classic Qix formula makes for a worse game here. If you’ve never played a puzzle game like this before, it’s fine and you’ll get the gist of it. You’re better off dusting off a copy of Jezzball, though.

Next week: Roll up your sleeves as we delve into Dungeon Master!

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