Amstrad Computer User1st September 1988
Published in Amstrad Computer User #46
In common with virtually every other game written, Astroball features an heroic quest by some clean-living, square-jawed, public-spirited being.
Trouble is, Astroball is a small squidgy green blob which would have enormous difficulty in being any of these things. He (it could be she or it, but square-jawed heroes are invariably male) must pick up the scattered magical items that of right belong to his people.
The omnipresent Malevolent Powers have nicked these goodies and scattered them in the Evil Forest. Our heroic spheroid, armed with nothing but a cute expression, must bounce about collecting these objects while avoiding too many collisions with the leering trees.
Each collision depletes his energy, the predictable messy ending ensuing if it reaches zero.
Astroball's horizontal movements cannot be adjusted, but his vertical motion is controllable by the player. For a one character square bouncy blob, he has a remarkable and amusing range of expressions.
The entire range from extreme pain to utter dejection is there, including a neat raspberry blowing routine.
From the outset, this game suggests that it has been written almost entirely in Basic - it's more like a beefed up magazine listing than a commercial game.
The sound and graphics are not what could be called brilliant, but the graphics are fast and well animated - for Basic with additional RSXs, that is.
This game would certainly impress parents if it had been their kid's, but it shouldn't really have gone past that stage. This is a piece of homegrown software, slightly tarted up to impress unfussy publishers.
Getting Astroball stuck in a corner is a little annoying, and the sound verges on the dire, but it's cute nonetheless. Not brilliant, but on the whole quite enjoyable in a lobotomised sort of way.
I await the ZX81 conversion with high hopes of enhanced features.