The days of the bouncing ball are not over yet. We've had a couple of games already on this theme - Gremlin's Bounder and Mirrorsoft's Action Reflex - but Revolution knocks the spots off the opposition.
Very much in the Vortex style of clear, monochrome graphics and superb 3D effects, Revolution depends on a logical thought process and a lot of patience. It held me enthralled, and I didn't even get near the harder levels of the game.
You control a ball which has four levels of graded bounce - it's essential to get the hang of the bounce if you're to complete the four infuriating puzzles to be found on each level. The puzzles are easy to spot, and if you're in difficulty they're well signposted on a map of the area which you can turn to at any time. They consist of two grey blocks which might or might not be hidden from view, protected by deadly fuzz balls or sliding blocks and you've got to bounce over, touch one and nip across to the other to make them disappear. If you're slow (and we're talking split seconds here) the blocks turn back to grey and you'll have start over again. And then there's the time limit to worry about. That ticks away steadily, heedless of your mistakes and failures.
The ball's quite easy to control - it doesn't bounce off out of control at the first available opportunity, and if the joystick is held still the ball remains happily on one spot. That is unless it catches the edge of the slab (each level consists of a number of large slabs with gaps between) and then the ball tends to rebound at a wild angle into the distance. More likely you'll slip over the edge into a yawning gap and disappear into space.
There are eight levels in the stack and each contains four puzzles. To move up a level you have to make all the grey blocks disappear within the time limit. Of the 32 puzzles some are simple, others are downright impossible and each level holds a good mix of both.
On high levels - six, seven and eight - there is only one possible solution within the limited time.
Revolution isn't just about bouncing a ball round slabs knocking out the grey blocks. Vortex has included spinning tops which can shove you out of the way and which, on occasion, you'll need to ride in order to get to outlying slabs. It's vital to get the hang of this as in later stages of the game, a number of slabs are missing from each level, separated from the main area by a huge chasm. The only way to cross to the isolated slab will be on top of the spinning top. Other spinning tops are inverted and tend to do more harm than good.
Now a mention of the mysteries of fuzz balls, sliding blocks and double bounce blocks which tend to be located round the puzzles. Fuzz balls are deadly if touched and you'll lose a life. Unfortunate because they often surround a grey block, so a careful leap at the right bounce height is essential. Sliding blocks tend to kill the bound and whisk you off in the direction of the arrow. This can be good or bad. Occasionally, you must use the slides to get you from one block to another extra fast, other times they are merely red herrings put there to frustrate and waste time. Double-bounce blocks send you spinning at twice the height of your regulated bounce and again can be used to solve a puzzle in extra fast time.
The graphics are sparse, small and incredibly detailed. Your ball even gives the impression of rotating as it bounces along. Because there's one colour there are no attribute problems, just as well because this precisely engineered game would be impossible with colour clash and fuzzy outlines.
There's so much going on for such a deceptively simple game. And rest assured that if you like working things out and need more of a challenge then the 11th version of a thumb-numbing Rambo-esque copy, look no further.
Revolution is fabulous.
Author: Costa Panayi
Reviewer: Clare Edgeley
A brilliant game with masses of tortuous puzzles set in an abstract landscape. Think, not zap.
HINTS AND TIPS
Grade the bounce of your ball to at least match the height of the object you are attempting to bounce onto or touch.Remember that sliding grids kill your bounce. That can be quicker than doing it manually.If necessary use the pause button to study a particularly obnoxious puzzle in your own time.Look carefully, at the double bounce squares (white as opposed to grey) as they are often there for a purpose.A solution to a puzzle on a lower level isn't necessarily the right one to use on a higher level.Don't forget, sometimes parts of the puzzles are there to mislead - they don't help you solve it at all.
The map and stack system shows where you and the puzzles are.
Touch the two square cubes. Note the sliding grid. Beware the fuzzballs - they're deadly.
Double bounce squares may help you here. Spinning tops are a hindrance.