Magic Mushrooms (Acornsoft) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

Magic Mushrooms
By Acornsoft
Acorn Electron

Published in A&B Computing 2.09

This top class package should provide another success story for Acornsoft. It's an arcade game with an important difference - you can design, edit and save your own screens. The editor is very simple to use and a properly printed booklet is provided for advice. The range of screens that can be produced are of virtually unlimited variety.

To play the game you use just three controls - Z and X for left and right and RETURN for jump (surprisingly there is no joystick option!). There are ladders and slides to assist with vertical movement and a variety of other ingredients such as conveyer belts, wobbly surfaces (make jumps difficult), ice stretches (one way movement) and trampolines - which break falls and assist high jumps. You can have monsters as well if you wish. To clear a screen you have to walk over a number of randomly scattered mushrooms inside a time limit. The mushrooms are generated by the program, not included in your design. Some screens have one or more finishing blocks that must then be reached in time.

The nine screens provided show incredible variety but were much too difficult for me - I couldn't even clear the first screen! But, of course, it doesn't matter. A few touches from the editor - delete that monster, add a 99 block here and there (gives extra time), place a trampoline under that nasty fall - and it's suddenly playable. The main snag that I have found is that my kids won't let me near the computer since this program arrived. Interestingly, they spend as much time designing screens as playing the game. Such is the variety possible that they have even designed screens each enough for their baby brother (Three years old) to play. I quite enjoy playing one of these screens myself - one trip up a ladder and you're delivered onto a series of conveyer belts that automatically take you over all the mushrooms clearing the screen!

It sometimes bothers me that arcade games are so attractive to children, since they seem to have so little educational value (compared with adventures or strategy games, for example). Magic Mushrooms is a clear exception because it possitively encourages creative activity. In a word - excellent.

Jonathan Evans

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