Clogged Up Review
Who brought us lots of cute and additive games in the past? Who
is always awake 24 hours a day at any coding party? Who is
always delivering outstanding quality when it comes to games or
demos? Of course we are talking about the Reservoir Gods and
especially their mastermind and lead coder Mr. Pink. He is back
with his latest production called "Clogged up". As usual when it
comes to a Reservoir God product the expectations are quite
high, let's see if "Clogged up" can meet them.
Of course "Clogged up" was already rated quite high when it
ranked 1st in the Outline 2004 game compo. It scored 404 points
while the only other competition entry "Ausbruch" scored only
293 votes. "Clogged up" is a conversion of one of those board
games which Mr. Pink loves a lot, and which usually win titles
like parents choice of the year or parents best choice in the
past 10 or 25 year votings.
After downloading I quickly unzipped the file and copied it to
my harddisk. A hasty double-click and it starts loading and a
nice Reservoir Gods logo appears on my screen accompanied by a
windmill. Along with the clogs it makes me wonder if Pink spent
too much time in the Netherlands :). The 1st glimpse shows some
really cute graphics but nothing is to be heard yet.
While we are at it, the graphics have been done by SH3,
Exocet and Sarah, it seems marriage has its bright moments :)
When the screen fades to the clogged up logo it stays mute until
the menu shows up. Now the awesome music by msg starts as well
and I have to admit that I really like the tune.
What choices does the menu offer? Well there are six menu
options, the first one is called "loscores", because the aim
of the game is to avoid unnecessary moves or better to get to
the exit with the minimum of moves. You can find the low scores
of each world and level here. The menu "help" contains a help
page with a description of the game. The third menu item is
called "stats" and like in most modern console games you find
all kinds of statistics and information here like the number of
played rounds, the number of solo games, multi games, completed
and perfected levels and so on. The menu "options" offers
possibilities to adjust audio and video settings as well as save
options. The menu "play" allows you to play solo or
multiplayer rounds and to choose the world and levels if you got
far enough :) Well and I let the reader decide what "exit"
could mean :)
Clogged up is a thinking game, you have to move a little red
clog to the exit of a small area by rearranging the other clogs
(or other items in the later worlds) which block your way. You
can only move the clogs in one axis and this is where the fun
begins. All the movements are done via drag 'n drop. Sounds
easy? Well it really is in the beginning, but believe me it gets
harder and harder! Once you have completed a few levels your
little red clog is quite well blocked by the other ones. Anyway
world one, containing 40 levels, is still easy, but when the
second world gets unlocked, it starts to become challenging. In
later levels the clog is replaced by other objects like a bigger
clog, a jeep or a train, also different objects with other
movement abilities appear.
Like usual the reservoir gods ace at the selection of the
control device, there isn't much what could be requested on the
options already given. You can select between mouse, normal
joysticks, jagpads, teamtap jagpads and keyboard. Of course you
can connect your joystick or jagpad to any possible port
including the teamtap. The controller selection is done in the
start game screen.
Worlds and Levels
Each world uses unique graphics and is subdivided into 40
levels. The screen layout always stays the same with the scores
and other information on top of the screen the playfield and a
small repetitive animation on the left side of the window. For
the 1st world (Holland) this is a rotating windmill, for the
second world (Atari) it's a rotating Fuji sign displayed on a ST
monitor. The third world (Hair) shows a Barbie like girl combing
her hair. The forth world (Lego) displays a Lego figure turning
its head. The fifth world (Car) shows a waiting car in front of
a red traffic light. The sixth world (Safari) shows an elephant
and the seventh and last world (Train) shows a big Train coming
closer. Of course all graphics are nicely done and the music is
really awesome. The car world is the 1st one to change the
player sprite, well it's only a larger clog here, but the next
world features a big jeep consisting of four fields which makes
the game more challenging again. It also comes up with the
ability to move the jeep in both axes. In the train world you
get a small locomotive which can only move in one axis again but
there are cargo items which can be moved in both axes.
Anyway even if the graphics change, the gameplay stays basically
the same with some slight variations. Of course but it gets more
difficult with each level. Funny enough the first levels of the
following world are a lot easier than the last few levels of the
previous world, so the skill level doesn't increase linear but
on a kind of wave form with highs on the end of each world and
lows at the beginning.
If you think you play clogged up like a god, why not start
challenging your friends? Of course it's possible to run clogged
up in a kind of two player mode. Like in the one player variant
you can select all kind of controllers for each player. The aim
of the game is to use less moves than your opponent to win the
game. The number of moves is not limited. Of course each player
gets his own playfield.
You start off with scrambling your opponents playfield as much
as possible, the scrambling time is limited but if you are fast
you can press the little hook in the bottom right corner of your
playfield to finish scrambling. If either the scrambling time is
up or both players have clicked onto the hook the boards are
swapped and you have to rearrange the clogs or whatever objects
and get your little red clog out of the maze. Whoever uses fewer
moves wins the match.
Good and Bad
One of the nicest things within the game is the music. Also
getting into the puzzles is quite easy, but the problem is, the
gameplay itself is much too repetitive for my taste. Anyway if
you are into puzzlers you might well get addicted to it. Like
Pooz this game is hard to quit once you have started playing.
I also like the idea to get extra help moves when you complete a
level perfect, this is really handy in the higher levels.
It's a pity that there seems to be no help page on the
multiplayer level. You have to read the included readme, to get
into it. Once the scrambling time is up in two player mode and
the boards are swapped all controls vanish (at least on STEem).
I don't have a clue if that is supposed to be that way, but
perhaps pink will tell us one day because if you click where the
little switch or back icon is used to be it reappears... seems
to be a bug, I guess the testers will get their asses kicked for
not finding it :)
Of course this game is well made; it has really cute graphics in
a kindergarten style, and also the music fits like a glove.
However I never got any further than world two without cheating.
Clogged Up is surely a good game, both technically and game
design wise, anyway I am not much into puzzlers and to be honest
I am a bit fed up with them. In my opinion there are too many
puzzlers around already and this one is only one in a very long
row, even if it is a well created piece of software. It's time
for something new...
Lastability: 7/10 if you are not into puzzlers more likely 3/10
Graphics : 8/10
Sound-FX : 4/10
Music : 7/10
Overall : 7/10
Marcer for Alive, 2005-11-14