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Players Software
Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Tony Worrall
Chris Bourne

Add a seriously cute fluffy to a computer game and you'll be laughing all the way to the Building Society, or at least that's what seems to be true of the charts these days. Thing is a seriously cute fluffy, and Thing, the game, is also seriously playable. Partly due to the fluffy. but mostly due to the brilliance of Players programmer, Colin Swinbourne.

To be honest this is nothing that hasn't been seen before - the Magic Knight games come to mind - but the effortless and extremely pleasing way it fits together makes Thing a pretty nifty slice of software.

Thing's mission in life is to deliver a metallic ball with squishy innards to the Dingalinger Overlord in an attempt to avoid all-out nuclear war. Heavy huh? But before Thing can pass on this spherical postcard, the Overlord has demanded the completion of ten rather tricky tasks. The situation is further hindered by the roamings of a bunch of yobo Dingalingors who don't seem to appreciate the fluffy cuteness of Thing. Never fear, your ball converts into a high power servocannon when needed. Very useful when your Thing's in a tight spot (fnar, fnar)

Completion of the ten tasks is achieved by collecting objects (now where have I heard that before), and matching them with other objects where there is a common link. 26 levels must be searched although there is assistance in the form of teleport phone booths. Very handy, but this must be the point where Thing loses its grip on realism. When have you found a phone booth that works?

The top and bottom sections of the screen are occupied by inventory and selection cards, leaving only a tiny strip for actual game play. Is this enough? - but of course, the programming excellence of Colin Swinbourne never fails to amaze me. Using only monochromes, stunning scenery and Colin's scrolling sprite movement signature, Thing goes to the top of the class.

Superb quality budget gear. Thoroughly playable 'collect and connect game from the author of Joe Blade. A must buy.