Move Mind Benders is the latest game I have to cast under the spotlight. To be honest, the title alone wasn't quite enough for me to guess as to the content included. I thought it might be some kind of quiz game. No, it's not.
What it is is a three game compilation. So three games for your money, bundled into one package, that sounds like value for money for a start. But what games I hear you ask? What you get for your hard earned cash are the following trio of games designed to not only bend the brain but boggle it!
Lemmings, yes that's right, that old classic game has been given a nice HD facelift, but more on that later. You have an original little puzzler called Tumble (and that may not be what you think) and finally endochrone 2. So lets break it down into it's component parts.Lemmings
Well all of you out there are probably more than aware of the history of this series of games. Indeed Lemmings spent years locked in a head to head battle with Worms to vie as gamers favourite platform style game even though both were cut of different material.
Whereas Worms involves two armies of the little pink critters blowing each other to bits with grenades and sheep bombs, Lemmings had you trying to do your best to guide them from one end of a perilous obstacle course to the other.
They will face walls, spinning blades and perilous drops to get to their objectives and that's just the tip of the iceberg. To get them through all of this, you'll have to select the right Lemming for the right task. Sometimes you need to have a Lemming take one for the team and explode so he can demolish a wall that blocks the way. As for blocks, you will need a Lemming to block the way to prevent Lemmings falling to their doom or stop them from waking into a blade, or fall into a flame pit.
To select the relevent task, click on the icon on the bottom of the screen and then aim the move wand at the Lemming you want to perform the task. Be warned though, you are limited to the amount of times you can activate skills per level. For instance one level has two walls to be demolished, but they cannot be tunnelled through. So you have to select two Lemmings to blow themselves up to demolish the wall. You can only do this five times, so if you get the timing wrong, you'll a) run out of times you can explode a Lemming and b) Lemmings themselves. You will need to get a certain number of Lemmings to the end of the course to pass onto the next level, and if you can get more than the required number through then you'll clear the level with a nice fat bonus.
But anyone who is familiar with Lemmings will know what to do and what to expect.
Anyone new to the game, think of it being like Swarm. That has a very similar objective to the game.
Graphics for Lemmings are as colorful as they have always been and the music is composed of extracts from classical concertos. No thumping bass, or rock here and indeed it would seem out of place to have music like that in this game. The physics? Well objects don't exactly bounce around and there are not any rag doll bodies flying around here. The game has not been tweaked in that way at all. But it does still look good in HD.
Lemmings is fun and it's challenging and will keep you amused for many a happy hour. It's not been changed or unecesarily tweaked in any way shape or form.
If you get the timing off then expect some frustration. It is also a little hit and miss with Lemming selection (and that's something I never thought I'd write, let alone think about!) Youngsters may find the frustration setting in real quick, but the humour of it will at least make them chuckle.
Lemmings is as fun as it has always been, newcomers should enjoy it and old fans should embrace it willingly with open arms.Endochrone 2
The sequel to the shadow play game is with us. For anyone who doesn't know about this series, then at least try the demo of the original on the PS Network. The game only costs £3.99, and that's peanuts these days.
Ok so it's not the fastest paced game in the world, but if you want a break from the hectic play of Lemmings, then this is it. The object of the game is to guide a shadow stick man from one end of a path to the other. You do this by shining a light on the solid objects at the forefront of the screen, projecting the shadow onto the wall behind it. By manipulating that shadow, you can alter the path the stick man has to walk along. You can create devices such as trampolines so he can jump over high obstacles.
How I hear you ask? Well take a circular shape in the foreground, and manipulate it's shadow so it makes a ʻdome' on the floor of the path that the stickman has to walk along. When he hits the dome, then he'll be launched into the air.
If you get to an area that you have to think about, then by playing with the shadow, the stick man will pause until you have finished, but be careful, if you make an error, then the stickman may find he has no path and will ʻfall' to his doom.
Holes can be made into tunnels, arches become linked with passages that our little fella can walk along and emerge the other side.
It's hard to describe this game, just try it for yourself. I think of it being in a slightly similar vein to Ico, except there are no shadow monsters to fight. It's a gently paced mind bender indeed, challenging and innovative.
As an added bonus, you can create your own levels and upload them to the web, and that means of course that you can play levels created by the online community. Some of these are well imaginative and tricky so be warned before trying them but the normal levels can be quite a challenge in their own right.
Hard to explain really! They are not bright, colourful and in your face. No they are subtle (for want of a better term) and kind of eerie too. It's an odd world indeed.
The soundtrack is supplied by what sounds like a string quartet. Nothing recognizable that I can recall. This sounds a little eerie, but suits the mood.
Intriguing and it's proof positive that even the most basic looking product can be an engaging and very cleverly designed title.
Nothing much here for the younger player. I can't see this appealing to young jimmy alas. He might well lose patience with it quickly or find it does not appeal at all. Still he will have Lemmings to amuse him.Tumble
The title threw me. I assumed that this might be some sort of falling blocks game like a Tetris clone. Nope, far from it. It's the total opposite. Yes you have blocks but they do not fall down the screen, you have to use them to build a tower. Now that may not sound like the most exciting formula for a game but you'll soon find this taxing the mind and a stiffer challenge than expected.
You see it's not just square blocks you have to contend with. You have planks, cones and pyramids to deal with as well as hexagons and other shapes. These last are usually the peak of the tower and have to be placed so the rest of the tower does not collapse. Using the move controller, you have to select and then pick up a block and place it very carefully indeed. It's not only the shape you have to think about either, it's the material that each block is made of. Glass for instance is slippery, so if you stack that on something smooth surfaced, then the glass may slip. Some are made of rubber, thick and heavy so now weight becomes a factor. Some are polystyrene, nice and light for the base but to succeed at a level, you have to achieve goals that are measured by height.
If you want to really clear a level, then you have to build to a set height. This is set in three stages, so the lowest required earns a bronze medal and the highest a gold and a silver for the midpoint in between.
But wait it's not just building towers, no siree! Some levels give you preconstructed towers that you have to demolish by the strategic placing of limpet mines. You'll get marked on how far the tower gets scattered, how many pieces fall into the target zone, and how many pieces of the original tower that are still in the middle when the smoke clears.
Add challenges where towers are built on sloping floors and the incentive to try and beat previous best times for the construction of past towers to unlock more rewards, and other tricks I'll leave for you to discover, and the icing on the cake, a competitive two player head to head mode and you have a nice little game here. Simple but very very effective.
I am not going to go into the graphics and physics of this game, it's just suffices to say that all looks as good as it should and objects react as expected.
This one took me by surprise and with Endochrone I find myself playing these two more than Lemmings I must confess. True there are no down loadable levels here but that really doesn't matter. It's an engaging game and heck I like it.
In fact Move Mind Benders is a nice package and what's more it's at a nice retail price. For under £20 pounds you get three games that will amuse and entertain those looking for a change of pace and scenery from all of those virtual battlefields out there. It may not appeal to everyone, but it would be a dull world if we all liked the same thing.
OK it's no Doctor Kawashima, but it's engaging in it's own way and gets the old grey cells going. Fun and quirky, I recommend this one just because it is so different.