Sunday, December 26, 2021

Old Towers



Another brand new game!!

On Christmas Eve, totally out of the blue, came a brand new game for the Atari ST by Andy Noble. It's a conversion of a RetroSouls' Sega Megadrive game which takes place inside a massive tower filled with nasties, puzzles and many yellow dots that need collecting. Personally, I was instantly reminded of Nebulus and Yopaz IceStar.

Old Towers is actually a simple concept and one that works incredibly well. We are in control of a cute little guy(s) who runs around a vertical tower collecting yellow pills like our friend from that maze. He can run in all four directions but, once he begins to move, his momentum continues in that direction until coming into contact with a wall or object. Once all the yellow items are collected he can head towards the exit tile and onto the next level.


Look at him move! So fast he leaves a blur of light that Superman would be proud of.

Starting level 6 introduces a new concept of solo/multi-control for the player!


Zip-Zap Crazy Fast!

As you play the first few levels, you will get a feeling for how the game thinks and the challenges it presents. The earlier levels break you into the style of control, how to solve puzzles and the thought processes you need to employ to beat it. The difficulty soon increases but I'm pleasantly surprised there is no timer as that would only pressurise the player into making mistakes. This lack of a timer is excellent and enhances the experience enormously.

It's a hazardous tower! Monsters roam, spikes are always going to hurt, and some rocks will spit out a dart in the style of Rick Dangerous. Thankfully, these aren't crowding the levels and only help to make the game challenging rather than impossible. However, I cannot speak for the later levels - blame my lacking skills for that!

Thankfully, there are helpful parts of the tower we can use to assist us: some blocks only appear after passing through their placeholder. Arrowed areas allow you to pass through, but only in the direction that they are pointing. Angled panels will throw you around the tower without any control. Useful but how will you stop?

Take a look at my video recording to see how well this game plays. Tell me it isn't fun zooming through the levels at a speed that puts Sonic to shame? Also, my video shows how I finally sussed out level 10 (slow brain!) but then I made a stupid blunder and died right before completing it... Enjoy!! 


Notice the square placeholder on the right? Zip over that to turn it into a rock. Very handy!

Level 8 is when my old brain began to stress! How can I reach the yellow square to exit?


Input & Output

Directional controls are sharp and responsive for quick action when zapping around the screen like a crazy fool. Hitting the fire button flips over to the other character - if he's knocking around. It's great having a helper inside the tower. Also, if the joystick doesn't work for you then there is an option to redefine your own keys.

Hitting ESC not only gives the option to quit but can restart a level after you realise you have gotten yourself stuck in a corner! Hold down the fire-button activates the option to scroll the screen without you moving. This helps view what's ahead without accidentally bumping into something deadly.

Graphically, this is hot. It looks great with a cracking design and funky colour palette. The animations are nice with smooth scrolling that keeps up with the pace of the gameplay. In fact, Old Towers gave me an odd C64 feel, which I really liked, but with a ton more colour. I don't get that either but it's how I feel. I love the visuals!!

Sonix are neat with nice effects and YM tunes blurping away by Oleg Nitkitin. During the game, we have a rendition of the Popcorn tune which I've always found quite irritating but it grows on you I must admit. The title screen music is brilliant and plays whilst rotating through a number of the intro screens. This is beautiful chip music.

An arrow hits my head on the 9th level. It's a killer so don't rush!! Just listen to those sound effects...

It may have taken me a couple of attempts but here is proof I finally made it to level 10 :)


The CryptO'pinion?

What an amazing treat it is to play something new, especially as it was completely unexpected. Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of puzzle games, my skills in the video certainly prove this, but what the video doesn't show is just how much enjoyment I got from this game. Old Towers is polished and thoroughly entertaining whilst challenging the player to use their mind and reactions equally. I think I'll be playing this a lot over the holidays...

I would like to thank Andy for going to the effort of converting this game over to the often-forgotten Atari 520ST. Check out his website which includes a download link. Eat, drink, be merry and enjoy this fantastic puzzler.

I managed to reach the 8th stage on my first play. In fact, I would have done much better but for all the eating and drinking I needed to do. Ahem, honest... burrrrrp!! Merry Christmas everyone :)

4 comments:

  1. Awesome to see such a great new, polished game released in 2021.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and thank you Mr Unknown commenting :)

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  2. Bitmaps Retro (still alive)January 02, 2022

    This looks absolutely fucking gorgeous, right up my street. Very very exciting stuff. Gorgeous, polished, and something I can see myself having a lot of fun with.

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    1. Honestly, this is a great game and I'm sure you'll love it. Level 11 is a killer... for me...!

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