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Borench

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Released: 1990

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

We know what your first question is going to be, but we can’t answer it – we’ve got no clue what Borench means either. What we can tell you is that it’s a reasonably decent puzzler, in which your goal is to guide a ball across a treacherous course filled with pits. You’re given a selection of bumpers to place on the course in order to accomplish this, which can change the ball’s direction at right angles.

It’s a simple premise, but the complexity quickly increases. Placing bumpers becomes a high pressure activity as the ball changes from blue to red, gaining speed as it does so. The courses also quickly begin to fill up with spaces that are marked with crosses, which can’t have bumpers placed on them unless cleared with a plus block beforehand.

Borench is a typical puzzle game in that it has a fairly spartan appearance, with little scenery to visually differentiate each stage. Similarly the sound is barely more than functional, with sound effects and two pieces of music – one for general play and one for warning the player of an imminent failure.

With three consoles to support at the time, it’s a given that Sega would have converted this relatively simple game to one of them if it was confident that it’d be worthwhile to do so. The fact that it didn’t brings us to the conclusion that Borench didn’t do fantastically well in arcades, possibly due to its sedate action and unusual premise.