Personal Computer News

Batty Builders

Author: Bob Chappell
Publisher: English
Machine: Atari 400

Published in Personal Computer News #051

Bricks And Mortar

Bricks and Mortar

Do-it-yourself experts seem to be able to turn their hands to any job needing a bit of building know-how. Constructing a wall of Italian bricks would normally be child's play to them, but it's likely they'll meet their match in this new and original game from prolific English Software.


Using bricks that fall off an overheard conveyor belt, you have to complete an already partially constructed wall. The bricks topple off the belt from random positions; you must catch them and then throw them up into position on the wall.

The bricks have different colours and designs; you must endeavour to match them up during building. A bodged wall will earn you points but not as many as a perfectly matched one will.

Batty Builders

Five lives are all you have. Get hit by a falling brick and you'll lose one.

In Play

The screen is divided into three roughly equal horizontal sections. At the top is the conveyor belt, full of bricks and fairly racing along from left to right. In the centre is the almost finished wall. At the bottom is a clear area where a simply drawn little man stands.

Batty Builders

The man can be moved left and right for you to position him beneath a falling brick. The bricks fall regularly but from random places on the conveyor belt. Pressing the joystick button causes the man to raise his arms high. To catch a brick, he must be exactly beneath it with his arms in the air - if he's slightly off-centre of the falling brick or has his arms lowered, he is zonked by the brick.

Having caught a brick, the man can be moved to an appropriate position below the incomplete wall. A press of the fire button and the held brick is ejected skywards. With luck, it should land in precisely the place on the wall you want. If you haven't aimed it with care it may fall to either side of the target, adding to the wall but making a mess of the pattern. If you're really out of luck it may simply bounce straight back and flatten you.

There are eight walls to build, each different and with added dangers. Higher levels have you dodging around boxes of explosives.


An unusual game, simple yet extremely addictive, just as any really good game should be.

Bob Chappell

Other Atari 400 Game Reviews By Bob Chappell

  • European Super Soccer Front Cover
    European Super Soccer
  • Blue Max Front Cover
    Blue Max
  • Chop Suey Front Cover
    Chop Suey
  • Alternate Reality: The City Front Cover
    Alternate Reality: The City
  • Questron Front Cover
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Front Cover
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Captain Sticky's Gold Front Cover
    Captain Sticky's Gold
  • Ghostbusters Front Cover
  • Fort Apocalypse Front Cover
    Fort Apocalypse
  • Nuclear Nick Front Cover
    Nuclear Nick