I’ve spent many a quarter at an air hockey machine. I’ve been known to twist some foosball knobs. I’ve dabbled in billiards. I’ve even enjoyed some skeeball from time to time. They’re fun diversion while I’m out at a restaurant or sports bar or, more realistically, the local Chuck E. Cheese’s. I always have fun playing them, but I wouldn’t even think about having one of those large machines in my home. They’re incredibly large, expensive and really only work with a crowd. But what if you could a get a similar experience in a smaller form factor and a reasonable price? That’s the promise behind dexterity game Klask.
How it Plays
Like most games of its ilk, the rules of Klask are nearly self evident. Use the strikers to knock the ball into the opponent’s goal and you earn a point. The strikers are attached the surface via a magnetic peg underneath the playing area which you’ll use to maneuver them. But scoring a goal is not the only way that points are handed out. If you ever lose control of your striker, lose your striker in your own goal or if at least two of the magnetic pylons attach themselves to your striker you will award your opponent a point. After every point, the board is reset and play continues until someone scores six points wherein celebratory dance will commence.
How it Feels
It’s always difficult describing what makes a game like KLASK successful or not. So much of it comes down to how it feels. And to that end, KLASK is mostly successful. The handle for the striker is a good size and weight and easy to manipulate. The playing surface is textured to give the striker just the right amount of friction as you maneuver it about.
Initially, I was disappointed that the ball was so light. Hitting it is not as satisfying as nailing a solid shot in a game of foosball or air hockey. It’s not terrible, but it lacks the sort of punch that I would have hoped for. I got over it once I realized that KLASK is less a game of power and more a game of finesse. The game, while large for most tabletop-grade games, is compact for a game of this type. The smaller playfield means that KLASK prioritizes quick, precise movements over brute force. The alternate ways of scoring separates KLASK from an analog of soccer and makes positioning and spatial awareness just as important as striking ability. Navigating your striker around your own goal without falling into it is difficult enough, but once the pylons start flying it’s downright harrowing. It also introduces varying modes of attacks. Instead of play being focused on the ball, you intentionally target the pylons or, if you’re truly sneaky, use your magnetic handle to flick them into your opponent’s playfield and restrict their movement. There’s definitely room to improve and get better beyond just hitting a ball.
For a game like KLASK to work, it has to be approachable and inviting, not only to the players but to any onlookers. Because of it’s similarity to other games, I think just about anyone can get right into. It’s also solidly built and attractive to look at. High fives, fist bumps and cheers are commonplace once a game of KLASK breaks out. The quick play time allows for everyone at a party to gather around and be invested from beginning end.
So it’s fun to play and fun to watch. An easy recommendation, right? Well, not so fast. The people who would enjoy owning a copy of KLASK are different from the people who would enjoy playing KLASK. I fall squarely into the second camp. You see, I like playing games like darts and billiards and I’ll gladly join in on a game, but I don’t own a dart board or a pool table. These are large and bulky pieces of furniture that become focal points for gatherings. KLASK is definitely smaller than that ping pong table, but it doesn’t fold up and is hard to put away. It would be better served by being out for anyone nearby to play on a whim. That’s an impractical setup for my home and not something I’m interested in accommodating.
Chances are you already decided whether or not you wanted to own KLASK based on the premise and pictures alone. If you’re the type of person that has a pool table or has dexterity games as a regular installment in your home then there’s a good chance that KLASK is for you. If you’re the type of person that always wanted a ping pong or foosball table, but don’t have the space for such large items then KLASK is perfect for you. For everyone else, KLASK is perfect for your friends to own. It’s perfect for when they invite you over for a barbeque. You’ll have a fun and you’ll cheer loudly. There will be backslapping and shameful victory dances. And then you’ll go home and let your friend worry about where to store it.