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RokuGuide Review: Kaboom is a very basic version of same Minesweeper game that you'll find bundled with Microsoft Windows. Don't confuse it with the 1981 Atari game that went by the same name. Kaboom's intro screen, shown below, would have you thinking that this is an action arcade game, with its references to radar destroying mines. In fact, it's more of a logic puzzle.
To play, you use your Roku remote's arrow buttons (you can play the game with a standard Roku remote - the new game controller is not required) to highlight a square that you think has no mine, then press the OK button. If there is no mine in that square, the square will lose its shading and will be blank or contain a number, as shown in the screenshot below. Unlike other versions of this game, the first selection is not protected, meaning you may lose on your first move.
If you don't blow yourself up, a number will indicate how many mines are adjacent to the box. Mines can be touching any of the four sides and any of the four corners. Based on the number of adjacent mines, you try to deduce which of the surrounding boxes have mines. If you think a box has a mine, highlight that box and press the play button on your remote to highlight it as a possible mine. There are 15 mines in the 10 x 10 grid, and all must be cleared to win. If you try to clear a box with a mine, you lose:
Clear all 15 mines and you win. Winning is somewhat anticlimactic, with nothing but a simple congratulations screen:
With the power of the Roku, I expected some animated graphics, maybe some cheering or other sound effects. There are other areas where the game really falls short of expectations. For one thing, there is no ability to change the difficulty of the game. The real Minesweeper lets you select from a beginner level (10 mines in a 9 x 9 grid), an intermediate level (40 mines in a 16 x 16 grid), or an advanced level (99 mines in a 16 x 30 grid).

Other glaring omissions are the inability to save a game, and the lack of statistics tracking. There is no record of wins or losses, and there is no timer to track your speed in solving the game. Kaboom is currently available only on the Roku 2, so it seems that it would have more advanced features, such as you'll find in Angry Birds. The Roku 2 even includes a microSD slot that was incorporated into the device with the expressed purpose of allowing games to be saved, but Kaboom doesn't take advantage of this feature.

This game will provide some brief enjoyment, and at $0.99 it won't impose a financial hardship on your budget, but the game's interface, features, and options are a big disappointment for a game that is one of the first to be released on the new Roku 2 platform. Roku even put out a press release touting the availability of Kaboom and several other games, saying that this is a step toward Roku's goal to "grow our games library significantly". Let's hope that future games offer more than Kaboom.

--RokuGuide Reviewed August 19, 2011

Developer's Channel Description: Locate and deactivate the mines using only your brains and the hints you get from moving in the waters around them.


FEES: $0.99 one-time purchase