Formats: PSP (also PS3 compatible)
Developer: Rake in Grass
Publisher: Rake in Grass
£2.49 and 191 levels. BAM! That’s what we call a good deal.
This is a 2D puzzle/platforming game that starts off with easy puzzles before soon leaving you scratching your head wondering what the hell to do next. You control Archibald on his skateboard trying to find his way out of Professor Klumpfus’ creepy mansion/laboratory by hopping across gaps, avoiding mutants, flicking switches, moving boxes and teleporting, with the aim of reaching the exit door for each of the levels.
Archibald jumps automatically where needed just by pushing the controls left or right. He can jump ‘one block’ high or across. If he has roughly three blocks of open space he’ll be able to get a bit of speed going to clear bigger gaps.
Early on you get to use the bubble gun which can be used to fire large bubblegum-like spheres which can move crates around. You can float the bubble through gaps and upwards to reach otherwise inaccessible switches too. Things get more complicated as you go with some barriers blocking your bubbles, or you’ll have to use explosives to clear the way. You’ll even get a cool machine to replace your skateboard, a human metal hamster-ball which can grab onto metal surfaces and crush blocks.
Considering the large amount of levels, it’s surprising to see how often new elements are introduced to keep you interested. Puzzles constantly shift from working out how to create smooth surfaces for running jumps, creating staircases, or gently moving a crate through the air with a bubble being careful not to burst it on the spikey vines sticking out everywhere. Timing, logic, balance and brave jump-judging all come into play to create a gripping experience.
While some levels have checkpoint beacons to bring you back to life they’re annoying absent for some levels meaning one slip-up can mean a restart. There are also a few levels where you can trap yourself into a corner leaving you with the grim prospect of restarting the level. When you do trap yourself though you’ll be able to avoid making the same mistake as before as it’s often clear how you messed up.
The controls to move off one block onto one immediately below (laid out like steps) can be a bit over-sensitive as you have to gently tap the d-pad to get him to drop down and hopefully not leap off, missing the first block and landing in the green goo, onto spikes or into the path something crawling and oozing teeth that’s not meant for mass production.
Overall though, the approach of the game is friendly enough as it’s split into chapters with 16 levels each. The last two levels in each chapter only become available if you finish the rest of them, but you can afford to miss a few if you want to progress to later chapters.
The graphics are basic, but sharply drawn with the occasionally charming animation thrown in for your amusement. The lack of a time limit for the levels also adds to the easy-going nature of the game too. Well that is until you perfectly place some hard-earned crates as platforms to the exit only to accidentally smash one with your clumsy human rollcage.
- 191 levels for £2.49!
- New elements thrown at you keep things interesting throughout
- Harsh but fair later levels will test your skills
- Dropping down ledges often results in accidentally bigger jumps
- Some levels cruelly leave out checkpoints
- You’ll often want a Prince of Persia-style rewind
The Short Version: The huge number of levels should keep you going for ages. This initially simple puzzle game proves to be quite a challenge soon enough with lots of varied elements that will keep you occupied through any commute or even at home afterwards.