There's been a string of games recently featuring all manner of balls, some good, some bad. All round. Let me rephrase that. All round, Gremlin Graphics' new offering Is definitely one of the good 'uns - and it's very different.
You've got to move Bounder, a tennis bafl with more bounce than Samantha Fox, around an obstacle course consisting of crazy paving. But if you misjudge a bounce and stray from the slabs into the trees, water and quicksand your ball gets a puncture and explodes. And Bounder, unlike a cat, has only got seven lives.
And that's not the half of your problems! There's a whole menagerie of meanies to contend with - Binoculoids, Chomper Domes, Moskita Birds and Pterries to reel off a few of the peculiar names in the instructions. Avoiding them is a whole new ball game. You can try a few fancy aerobics but I always came a cropper that way. The 'try-an-alternative-route' tactic is much the best bet for the uncoordinated.
But every cloud has a sliver lining! Many of the aliens you come across will actually give you a bonus - but it's trial and error sorting out the good from the bad and the just plain ugly? Copyright cans are very useful but you wont get these until the later levels. YOu can also gain a mystery bonus by bouncing on slabs bearing a question mark though it's very hit 'n' miss: you could end up by losing your balls - as well as your marbles! On the first level, two of the question marks will give you a bonus of six and two balls respectively. Another will kill you outright.
Once you've managed to keep on the straight and narrow and dodged all the nasties you'll still have to negotiate some very long jumps. Slabs with arrows on will give you a little lift but you must make sure your timing's right.
On completion of a level you're confronted with a Bonus screen where you have to bounce up and down on as many question marks as possible. Then it's off again on the next level.
The scrolling graphics are excellent - I only wish my ball control was as good. Control of Bounder is pretty realistic too even though it gets very frustrating when you keep bashing into mountains and having to go back to the beginning again.