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Wings over Sealand

Game Of The Last 16 Hours

Posted on March 23, 2011 by RevStu

The world moves alarmingly fast nowadays, doesn't it? But right now, at this particular moment in time and until something else shiny and exciting comes along (probably around lunchtime), this is the best game ever.

With a certain amount of irony, then, (and for no very good reason that I can immediately discern), it's called Forget-Me-Not.

Normally my impulse-buy threshold for iOS games is 59p like everyone else's, but I recklessly forked out twice that much yesterday afternoon thanks to the fervent and borderline-threatening recommendation of Paul Pridham (author of the splendid Rogue-ish Sword Of Fargoal and also the majestic, mould-breaking Ultimate Poker Timer), and fortunately for all concerned in every possible way, it turns out that it's superb.

I'm not actually going to describe the gameplay (which comes from the fevered mind of Brandon Williamson aka Nyarlu Labs, who previously brought you the, er, distinctive Magnetic Shaving Derby) in too much detail because at least half of the joy is the constant discovery of brilliant new features and subtleties, but the most obvious thumbnail is that it's a procedurally-generated cross between Rogue and Pac-Man Championship Edition. Hang on, what?

Each level is a random maze, which can be teeny or very large, and your task is to collect all the flowers, retrieve a key and escape through the exit to the next stage, until you die (there's no end). The dungeons are populated by various types of monster, which can be shot with your autofiring gun and leave fruit behind when killed, picking up 100 of which gets you an extra life. 

There are three modes: Standard is the normal game, Survival gives you just one life (with no extras available, though you can still replenish your health by picking up potions), and Shuffle is like Standard but with levels in random order – which seems a bit odd when all the levels are random anyway, but turns out to mean that the difficulty of each stage is random, whereas in Standard it rises steadily, making Shuffle a tougher challenge.

Control is by swiping anywhere on the screen, there's a two-players-on-one-device mode where you can co-operate or compete at your own discretion, and there's an interesting feature by which wall-grinding charges your character up so that you can briefly crush the monsters (but if you overdo it you explode), which is handy in busy mazes.

That's about it for the basic mechanics of the game, and as I've said I don't want to spoil the pleasure of discovery for you too much by talking about the rest of it. What starts out seeming a very simple and shallow game rapidly reveals more and more layers of sophistication, and it quickly becomes addictive as much to see what's going to show up next as to beat your high score (and those on the Game Center global leaderboards, all three of which your reporter heads at the time of writing).

The game Forget-Me-Not actually reminds me most of is Dungeon Raid, only evolved from Pac-Man instead of Bejeweled, and that's very much a recommendation. It improves on DR by having the Survival mode for when you just want a quick five-minute game, but has very much the same ethos of wanting to make something fundamentally like Rogue but without all the tedious faffing around and the 37 different control keys.

(This seems like as good a place as any to note that it also puts me somewhat in mind of the Xbox Indie release Crosstown, itself inspired by a very obscure C64 game called Crossroads, which in turn has a lineage leading all the way back to the 1981 coin-op Wizard Of Wor.)

At a tiny 3MB it doesn't ask for much in the way of storage space, and your £1.19 buys you both the iPod/iPhone and iPad-native versions together. I absolutely love it, and if you're the sort of person who's reading WoSblog in the first place I suspect you will too.

5 to “Game Of The Last 16 Hours”

  1. GeeZa says:

    Been playing this since he posted its release on YY and I have to say it is one of the freshest, original and most fun games I've played in years. Obviously quite Minter-inspired and so very 80s in outlook which of course we all dig at a fundamental level. The way subtle little gameplay facets reveal themselves almost with every play is frankly stunning.
    It also reminded me a bit of Lock 'N Chase on the Intellivision.

  2. RevStu says:

    Actually, when I was playing it I was thinking “This is the kind of game Minter SHOULD be making”, because aspects of it reminded me of Gridrunner and Hover Bovver, and unlike Minotaur Rescue and Minotron it’s got super-tight controls. Apparently though it actually was chiefly inspired by the C64 game mentioned near the end of the review, a magazine type-in called Crossroads.

  3. Irish Al says:

    Got this last night. Great little game.

  4. Dumpster says:

    Enjoying this but the random level design and endless structure make it feel pointless – there needs to be a reward when you achieve a certain number of levels or something so you want to keep playing….

  5. RevStu says:

    That's what online leaderboards are for, man.

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    Hello. I am the Rev. Stuart Campbell,
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