I can’t say I don’t like games that have been made in editors. There appeared several game editors during last years on the Spectrum. The most well known is probably AGD, the Arcade Game Designer by Jonathan Cauldwell. I’ve seen many games that have been produced in this software and some of them aren’t really bad, some are even cool. One game that came into my spotlight last days is Impossabubble by Dave Clarke of Monument Microgames. The game’s his debut and it really, really impressed me that much, that I’m writing this short review.
The game is about a bubble. If you’re familiar with those multiscreen maze games like Jet Set Willy, Monty series or so, this could be the exact description of the game and I don’t need to talk any further. Simply, a Jet Set Willy with a bubble as a main character instead of Willy. Hmm, okay, but that’s not a big deal. Well, maybe not. You control the bubble jumping on platforms and avoiding baddies, thinking of which way would be the best to pass the screen and collect flashing objects – potion bottles actually. What a classic! There are wind fans that get you higher if you can’t reach a platform by your normal jump, there are nasty bugs that kill you, there are unpleasant arrows and ugly spiders you really have to avoid. And you have just five lives for all that adventure, which is really not much. The game play needs a bit of training. After that, you’ll be able to go trough screens game quite easily. The controls are simple. Just keys for left, right and jump. Sinclair joystick (keys 6, 7 and 0) or Kemston joystick can be used instead, as well as the key H to pause the game, which could be handy in dangerous situations. It’s a 48K game with additional AY music, so your old rubber mate with an AY interface is the right setup. If you don’t have AY, you’ll just hear beeper sounds, but you won’t miss anything else from the game.
I must admit that the graphics aren’t my cup of tea. They’re, say, oldschool. If the game came in 1984, it would be okayish. I can clearly imagine how Dave aka Bedroom Coder makes the game in 1984, sends it to a famous software house (would guess that someone like Artic Computing or Mastertronic might declare insterest) and then gets his money and lives happily on a tropical island for the rest of his life 🙂 So, yes. The graphical side of the game is very retro, but not bad at all! Kinda cute, I’d say. Now, let’s move on to the music. Whoaa! This is quite cool piece of AY sound! I love David Saphier’s track. It fits perfectly to the game and makes the gameplay super addictive. It’s kinda retro as well, It doesn’t sport much under-the-hood advantages of the AY chip, but the melody and arrangement are so good. Last but not least, there are in-game beeper sounds as well that make the audio experience complete.
I must say the money spent on this game wasn’t really a thrown out deal as I like the gameplay, the music and the retro feeling of all this project. The author says that he should produce copies on a real tape soon, so this would be something for retro collectors and true Spectrum gaming enthusiasts. Impossabubble can be downloaded as a digital copy for a tiny amount of money at itch.io.