The legend that is Dizzy has returned. Yes, the egg-shaped hero from the days of computing yesteryear is back, bringing with him the ancient style of puzzle platforming long thought dead.
So, it is an oldie, but is it still a goldie? Well that really depends upon your point of view, as while many retro heads and adventure game fans will love this new iteration of Prince of the Yolkfolk, I fear new gamers and those of an impatient disposition may be perplexed by the game, wondering just what the fuss is about.
The game follows the adventures of the eponymous egg, Dizzy as he attempts to escape from the cave where he has been imprisoned by Rockwart the Troll, a henchman of Pogie, the main enemy in the game. The cave is just the very beginning of the adventure, but is actually a place where I can see a few people getting stuck, as you have to get your head around the games slightly odd item management system.
The system is ok once you get used to it, and you are soon onto the main quest. It is a Dizzy game, so it is mainly a case of finding the right items for the right characters, sometimes having to combine several of them at once and thinking laterally about the things in your possession. Each character will have a clue, either in what they say or look like, and you don’t really get too badly punished for experimenting.
The best way of describing the style of the game would be as a point and click graphic adventure disguised as a simple platform game. The platform elements are gentle and fun. Codemasters have used an intelligent layout for the updated controls, with buttons for walking left and jumping left on the far left of the screen, with the righthand options mirrored on the other side of the screen. It may seem strange, but it really works, and as Dizzy can only jump an exact distance every time the jumping sections are more about how well you position each leap.
Dizzy will try to grab onto any ledges he jumps near, an important mechanic, even early in the game. This mix of simple platforming action and tricky puzzles is as absorbing now as it was all those years ago. The fantastic sense of humour in the dialogue really helps to keep you going, even when you run out of ideas. It is a shame that this is a more or less direct remake of the original, but I would imagine that we will see some truly new Dizzy gaming if this does well.
The game has received a fantastic new lick of paint, and the new HD visuals really look the part, with bright, well animated and drawn characters and lovely, seemingly hand drawn backdrops. The soundtrack is really good, and surprisingly upbeat.
Throughout the game, you can collect stars, which add extra time to your total, and the game scores you on this at the end of the quest. It is a great reason to try to beat the game a few times, trying to get the path through the items and characters just right. There is also full OpenFient integration for a roster of achievements and to check out who else is playing the game. As this is an early access, pre-release version there has only ever been me and one other guy on there, which I imagine will not be the case after launch!
Overall, I think this is a faithful and attractive update of the original that still stands out as a great game after all these years. The obtuse nature of some of the puzzles may put new players off, but I can happily recommend this as a great little time waster that will give you many hours of retro gaming joy.