An ingeniously twisted and well-designed game, with mercifully precise controls and a whole load of clever ideas. A couple of the early screens are a little obtuse in their solutions (specifically, the ones where you have to deduce which buttons do what), but once you're into the main body of the game it does a great job of gradually introducing new ways of traversing seemingly impassable areas, so that by the time you reach the gleefully tricky later levels you can always work out a logical solution. Top fun.
Needs a bit more meat on its bones
Headplode is reasonably entertaining in the short term, especially the more puzzley later levels where you really have to plan ahead with your noggin-detonating, but it gets repetitive quite quickly, and it's too easy. Making the zombies more active would have helped matters; if they were milling around the screen instead of standing still it would be trickier to determine which zombies to blast, and it would add a shooting gallery element to the proceedings, making it a test of aim as well as observation. (Also, it would just make the whole game a bit more visually interesting.) A bit more depth to the gameplay would be welcome, too - some civilians to save the zombies from, for example, so you have to zap the shamblers quick to keep people from being eaten. I'd be interested to see how things might develop in a sequel.
Absolutely marvellous fun while it lasts - but of course, by design, it doesn't last that long. I'd love to see a multiple-level version with increasingly tall towers, increasingly fiendish mini-games and additional invader types, who try to scoot away from your cursor or fire missiles that you have to shoot down.
Gratuitious Carnage. Yay!
Pure anarchic excellence. Destroying aircraft, obliterating waterways and blowing up whole cities has never been so much fun.
Sweet, Evil and Excellent
Ingeniously tricky and lots of fun to play, with sinister-yet-endearing characters and some nifty gravity-defying design. The collision detection on the spinning blades seems a tiny bit inconsistent (not nearly enough to spoil things to any major degree, though), and the difficulty curve is more of a difficulty mountain range (hellishly tough screens lurk in between vastly easy ones), but other than that it's pretty much perfect. The puzzle where you have to fall off the bottom of the screen is a bit cheeky, though - there's no indication that it'll work, and given that falling down holes usually kills you, it would have been nice to have some sort of clue as to what you need to do there.
Fun in Small Doses
In design terms, it's impressive - the robot is easily controllable, and deaths can always be avoided with skill and judgement. The later levels are absolutely fiendish, and it's hugely satisfying when you mange to crack them. But it's all a bit one-note, and after playing it for a while you find yourself wishing there was a bit more to it; new powers to use, or enemies to avoid, or something. The uniformly garish graphics don't help in this regard, because every level looks pretty much identical - a bit more variation in the aesthetics and the gameplay would have made it more fun to play for long periods. As it is, you're better off tackling the levels in small chunks so you don't find yourself tiring of it prematurely. (And so your eyes don't start to hurt. The endless strobey colour cycling gets to you after a while.)
Pure demented joy from start to finish. I don't think I've seen a game packed with this much marvellously bizarre creativity since Wizkid on the Amiga, and the vast amount of funny secret stuff to find keeps drawing you back for another playthrough. Love it!
A Top Blaster
Obviously it looks sensational, but M-Bot: The Game is also exhilarating to play. You find yourself wanting to blast through it again and again to see if you can do better each time, swearing revenge whenever you take a hit, and lurching about in your seat as you desperately try to swerve away from incoming airborne trains. The gameplay is surprisingly varied too, adding to its addictive nature. My only criticism would be that, at times, the screen gets so busy that you simply can't make out what's going on. A number of times I took hits without having the faintest idea what I'd been hit by.
Hurrah for Hard Games!
As a wise reviewer once said, a game cannot be too hard, it can merely be unfair. Tower of Heaven is always scrupulously fair - it may be decidedly tricky, but every single death you suffer is always, unequivocally, your fault. Skill and perseverance are the only way to proceed, and personally, I love it to bits. What's the point in games being so unthreateningly easy that you can complete them on your first try without even looking at the screen?
Aside from the loving care that's gone into the design of the levels and the programming generally (you can control your character to a tremendous degree of precision, which is vitally important in a game like this), the whole thing looks and sounds smashing. The Game Boy graphics have a character and charm all their own, and the music is joyous, like something that the mighty Chris Hülsbeck might have written on a particularly sunny day. As for the ending, it wouldn't be out of place in a Hayao Miyazaki movie. Utterly lovely, and I shall be returning to see if I can root out the secret bits.
An absolute gem. The watercolour artwork is absolutely beautiful (it animates wonderfully, like a storybook illustration coming to life), and combined with the suitably sedate-yet-ominous soundtrack and the cheeky sound effects, it evokes the perfect Grimm-fairy-tale atmosphere for the whole game. The puzzles are often tricky but always logical, with hints that lend a hand but don't give the game away completely, and - best of all - there's a terrifically wicked vein of black humour running throughout the proceedings. Awarding bonus points for finding new ways to kill off the characters is a twistedly brilliant way of adding replay value.
I'm greatly looking forward to Part Two!
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