SHEER mental agony is the basic consequence of an hour playing Confuzion, the latest from Incentive. Deceptively simple, it will have you grinding your teeth and foaming at the mouth in minutes.
There is a tenuous plot to do with defusing bombs before they explode, but that is simply a peg on which to hang an unusual abstract maze game.
You have to control a fuzzy ball which moves around a maze of interlocking lines and attempt to knock out the bombs at the edges before your time runs out. Rather than move the ball itself, you slide blocks of the maze about, creating new pathways, rather in the style of those slide puzzles where you have to make words or rearrange numbers.
There are 64 mazes in all to negotiate, and although the first few are easy enough, the introduction of enemy balls, extra bombs, and holes in the maze plan soon turn the play into a frenzied nightmare. The time limit is tight, but the faster you play the less chance you have of working out a logical plan in advance.
The presentation is pleasant, with thick lines for the mazes and good, solid sound effects. But the strength of the game is entirely due to the novel strategies and techniques you must develop to win.
Conventional wisdom demands that games should have strong themes and plots to succeed. It would be a pity if the abstract nature of Confuzion were held against it, as it generates more thrills and addiction than plenty of well-hyped intergalactic epics. 'Fun for all the family' as they say - give it a try and bend your brain to bits.