News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 11
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 :)

Game Principle
        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.

Multiplayer Mode
        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 Things
        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 :)

Personal Opinion
        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...

       Playability: 9/10
       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
Alive 11