Overall Score 66%
When I first heard the name Repton 1, I thought of some distant lizard filled planet and one lone starfighter on a quest to defend (or destroy) it, but it turns out that Repton is the name of the green hero of a puzzle game from Superior Interactive. The game is in the style of Boulderdash, a classic Commodore 64 game.
If you've not played Boulderdash, the aim is to dig tunnels around a 2D maze in a quest for jewels. Boulders litter the area and they will fall downwards if you dig beheath them, crushing the player or any of the monsters that, in this case, hatch from giant eggs that appear in the levels.
The hand drawn graphics in Repton 1 are very large and bright. The fine shading and visual quality is not as high as the graphics in top quality indie titles such as Zen Puzzle Garden or Crystal Wizard, but nothing is badly drawn. There are no special graphical effects and very little variation in the level graphics apart from extreme colour changes. The functional menus are easy to navigate. In the game, the scrolling seems to move in strange jerks, and some of the movement is sort of chunky but the display does not flicker or cause undue distress.
The in-game Scott Joplin rag gives the MIDI music a pleasant retro feel without becoming annoying. The sound effects are nothing special.
When playing, there is a lot of thought involved and the gameplay is more sedate than an average action game. The game is a good mix of puzzle and action. A common trick to destroy enemies is to dig upwards towards a boulder while being persued and then side step to make the boulder fall onto your pursuer.
The closely cropped zoom of the display makes it harder to plan out future moves than in most similar games. A lot of the time I wanted to play the level in the map view. Stepping down when a boulder is above you causes instant death instead of giving you the chance to out run the falling rock which edged the game more towards tactical than arcade like. There is only one type of enemy, which is disappointing.
All of the features are there that place this game in the upper half of indie games. You can play in a window, control the sound and music volume levels and the game starts with a tutorial. The controls are responsive and logically assigned, and your name serves as a profile so you don't have to replay all of the password encoded levels. Like almost all of these sort of games a level editor is included. Some files and folders remain on the hard drive after uninstalling which is a notable downside.
Repton 1 is at best an average addition to the Boulderdash genre, and as an indie game is above average. The basic features are all there, and lots of levels too. Repton 1 should appeal best to an audience who have not played, and will never play, similar but superior games such as Diamond Caves.
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