Review: Repton


Author: Masabi

Version Reviewed: 1.0

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From The Dim and Distant Past...

If you're jammy enough to win a BBC B from Richard Stilgoe, you'll probably enter Blockbusters and win the fifth Gold Run as well... Grr... (No bitterness there then eh Ewan? - Rafe)

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be (Oh no here we go again - Rafe). Back when I was still at school, I remember one of my friends being incredibly jammy. He'd won his BBC B computer off a TV program hosted by Richard Stilgoe (it was Finders Keepers, fact fans) and, while it wasn't a patch on my trusty ZX Spectrum, it did have a few things going for it. One, of course, was he'd won it. Grrr... The second was that it had 'Elite... 'and the third was a little game called 'Repton.'

Now, Elite has been transferred to (almost) every machine under the sun, but Repton, gaming god to the beard-stroking BBC crowd that he was, never quite got the momentum to be up there with Chuckie Egg, Miner Willy, or even Mario. Which means that coming across Repton now means you either treat him like a long lost partner, or let the dastardly game catch you out.

And given that Masabi have released a conversion of the first Repton game onto the 7650, there's going to be a lot more people cursing original designer Tim Tyler!

...Repton Awoke With Diamonds in Mind.
Repton is a simple game to understand. Collect all the diamonds.

Of course, that's not as simple as it sounds. You're main problem here is that the diamonds are all hiding around the level, maybe surrounded by dirt, or at the end of a long corridor. Perhaps even in a mini maze of walls. But no matter where they are, you can be sure there are huge, Repton killing sized boulders nearby.

Hit TV show Babylon 5 modelled Ambassador G'Kar on the original Repton graphics. ·

Yes, just like the opening 5 minutes of Indiana Jones and "Raiders of the Lost Ark", you're going to spend a lot of your time running away from falling rocks. The main enemy in this game is letting gravity drop a rock on Repton's head. If that happens, wave bye-bye to one of your three lives!

It gets worse, though. Because unless you let those rocks fall in exactly the correct order, you'll probably trap yourself, or bury a diamond behind a rock formation you can't move. You can only push rocks or let them fall through gravity (perhaps onto a curved surface to make them fall somewhere else) - get it wrong and you might as well abandon the game and start the level all over again.

Breakfast, Sir? Go crack an egg.
'Eggs? You mean I've got critters to contend with as well?' screams the new Repton player. Indeed you have. They are pretty predictable, but they are fast, small, and only dropping a rock on their head is going to do enough damage to kill them. You've got a little bit of control, because they won't hatch unless you disturb them, so you'll always know when they come out.

But I bet by now you can guess where the last diamond is going to be?

(If you said, behind the last egg, you'd be right).

The Complete Picture
Repton is easy to pick up, especially as Masabi have created 4 'training' levels that introduce the concepts of Repton one at a time to you - you're taken through Diamonds, Rocks, Monsters, and the Repton Shuffle! More importantly, it's fun to play, the learning curve is just right, and with another 16 full levels, this should stay on your 7650 just long enough to crack them all.

One great feature of Repton is the ability to call up a map of the entire level (scaled to almost fit the 7650 screen) so you can see where the next challenge is. I just wish it could be called directly. The two soft buttons both call up an in-game menu (which has the 'Consult Map' option along with 'Commit Suicide' and 'Abandon Game'). It would have been nice if one of the buttons was a dedicated map key.

But there's not much else to do after you've beaten all the levels, apart from go through it again, perhaps trying to not loose a life or beat your high score, but I doubt many people will go down this route.

Repton Around The World?
Being a conversion of the first Repton game, Masabi know that sooner or later we're going to want the additional levels from the other Repton games. They're currently working on the follow up Repton game (to be called Mobile Repton) which is going to allow users to download levels, take part in league tables, and even create their own levels and edit the graphical 'skins' on the level

This shouldn't stop you buying Repton now - given that it's only £7 ($10 US) they've realised two golden rules. (1) If you price a game so it is the same as a Playstation game, it ain't gonna sell, and (2) if the price is lower, more people buy it. And you should too! (Yeah developers take note - Rafe)

Final Scores on the Doors
Repton is getting a solid 'recommended' from Ewan. It's a good game for short bursts of play, or a mammoth playing session. Learning curves and puzzles are all pitched just right (although a lot of that is because being a conversion from the days when games didn't rely on graphics, but game play, perhaps that isn't surprising). There are a few niggles, and while there only just enough levels, at least we know Masabi is working on that.

82% - A challenging diversion with perfectly balanced game play.

Stop Press:
"All About Symbian" do let developers read a review before it's posted so they can let us know if we've made any glaring errors. In the case of Masabi, they've already taken note of the review, and the version of Repton now on sale allows you to call up the Map from one of the soft keys. Hey, Rafe, we have made a difference! (Indeed we did Ewan, we aim to serve! - Rafe)

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