Author: Mark Caswell
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Crash #81


Potatoes are funny vegetables, aren't they? But they can play a mean puzzle game, as you'll find out in Plotting! Controlling said vegetable, the action involves throwing tiles emblazoned with different coloured shapes at other tiles bearing identical designs. Each level is timed, and the idea is to clear each screen of a set amount (shown in the status panel) of tiles. You start each game with three special tiles: your little potato pal's lives. He starts each level with a special tile, which he chucks at the stack of tiles. Having destroyed one tile, another tile comes flying back into his hands and then this tile can only be thrown at a corresponding one. It's easier to play than describe, but you get the idea.

Tiles can be thrown at tiles at the side of the stack or, by using a big yellow arrow as a pinpointer, at the tiles at the top. You play like this until the timer runs out, you run out of special tiles or the tile held doesn't match the tiles in the stack: then it's game over.

In later levels obstacles such as pipes appear, which block a tile's trajectory. This can get very frustrating!! My straitjacket size is large, by the way. From the start, this is great fun. Each move must be planned because one false move means a life is lost.


Graphics are good, but then the sprites are very simplistic (a few tiles and a potato shaped hero). Sonics are also pretty impressive (in 128k mode) though title and in-game tunes are a little twee for my taste. Still, they're jolly and bouncy and add a lot to the atmosphere. Plotting is a very playable puzzle game, but it falls just short of being completely amazing due to limited content.

MARK ... 85%

Richard ... 86%

'Plotting - it's simple, but it's dead hard! What a rummy game this is, and a strange fish from Ocean; y'see it's an arcade puzzle game. With the objective of clearing each level of a set number of tiles, Plotting's gameplay can be easily learned, but it'll take hours of play to master. Well presented, graphics are clear and colourful, make it look and feel more exciting than many other puzzle games. The first few levels get you into the style of play and you can whizz through these after a while. It's after level four that things get tricky, but also very addictive. And just because there's a jolly 128K tune warbling in the background doesn't mean you can lose concentration; to succeed in Plotting careful studying of the blocks and planning strategic play is all part of the fun. Though arcade blaster fans will probably find it tiresome after a few plays, all gamesters who like to use their brain will get their money's worth here.'

Mark CaswellRichard Eddy

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