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Mastertronic Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

At first glance you'd be forgiven for expecting a Marble Madness clone. but anyone wanting frantic action should try elsewhere, because this is a more lethargic form of lunacy.

No, that not quite true, because there is an arcade element to the game, but it's not the wild course of dodging and swerving you might expect. Steering isn't exactly nerve shattering - you can stop on a sixpence (or you could if we still had sixpences). But there is a far stronger problem solving element than you'll find in most marble manoeuvering gemes.

You have to steer your sphere over various squares, collecting the shapes which adorn them as you go. Don't get greedy though, because you mustn't hog more than your fair share of each type. To add to the fun there are aliens to avoid, a welcome test of your timing. But while they stand in your way for a while, the main attraction is strategic.

From the second level onwards there are switch squares, which change the landscape, and you'll need to know how they work or you could find yourself stranded when all the plain squares vanish! In fact, most of the fun comes from working out the only route which will allow you to collect your quota of shapes.

Later levels introduce clock squares, which stop the time limit ticking away for a limited period, and mystery squares, which may offer a bonus, or may just kill you. What with holes to avoid and the straight and narrow paths to stick to as you map them, there's a fair bit to do, even if it won't require split-second reactions.

Though your sphere can jump over gaps or aliens, Rollaround is still more a test of mental rather than manual dexterity. But as a variation on an old theme, it's a sound budget offering, especially for puzzlers.

Simply rolling around doesn't add up to the most action packed game, but you may lose your marbles solving the problems.