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Review: IronBoot PuzzleTron
First things first: What a great name.
Ashman's certainly been considerate - included at the start is an option either to change the resolution to 640x480 or to leave it well alone. I chose the latter option, not wanting to put more strain on my laptop, which tends to go off and sulk if it's asked to do anything remotely complex like run a game that isn't in 800x600.
After the company logo the title screen appeared, which is a reasonable starfield effect. Ashman's drawing style here, I feel, is very similar to JJ /Proteus (see Butterfly 660) - meaning this game has some of the most clear graphics I've seen in a Click game. Top marks for that.
In the RPG-style introduction, I noticed that the gradients actually work in this game. I assume that an extension is being used, or that they're just plain ol' Backdrop objects.
The sound effect after pressing Shift for the first time made me jump - just a warning for all of you. Turning my volume down slightly, I pressed on. The humour in the intro made me laugh, even though it was slightly 'cheesy'. Doesn't matter, though. Good to know that the author can laugh at himself.
On to the main game. I was again very impressed by the graphics and effects, which are very easy on the eyes and Mario-like. The music is also soft and unintrusive. There's no other good way to describe them, really, but as you'll probably be downloading this for yourself (you'd better be, anyway) I won't dwell on it.
The gameplay is reminiscent of an old Amstrad puzzle game that I can't remember the name of - your character is limited by grid-based platform movement, and you have to push blocks around to reach your goal of the exit. Anyone who's played a typical Megazeux puzzler will probably know what I'm talking about.
Here I come to one of the two problems - there's no explanation of the controls, ever. They're pretty simple for the most part, but it would still have been nice to have even a quick Help file. As it is you're left to work out what to do for yourself. You quickly pick it up, though.
The other, less nit-picky, problem is that it feels too slow, especially having to wait for a window to clear after picking up an item. They're good on the first level, when you're still finding your feet, but after that they become unnecessary.
I completed the three levels after a couple of false starts each. Personally I'd really like to see this continued, but my vote alone probably won't convince the author - if you like it, get your comments in!
(NB - Of course lastability is low, it's a demo after all).
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David Newton (DavidN)