You might have noticed that we don't tend to bother looking at retro reissues when we compile each week's roundup. For one thing, most of you probably already know whether you want to buy them in advance; you've either played them or your mates have spent years going on about them. Besides, Retro Sunday is there to service those with nostalgia issues.
What's more, the retro reissue scene has been pretty underwhelming for some time, with the flow of interesting Virtual Console releases slowing to a tiny trickle. Whether that's as a result of Nintendo holding titles back or publishers choosing not to bother isn't clear.
But last Friday's release of Chrono Trigger was an especially welcome one - not simply because of its undisputed classic status, but because it's the first time Square's 1995 SNES RPG has had a full 'home' console release in Europe. For those of you who passed up on its DS port a couple of years back, now's the time to see what everyone's been ranting and raving about all this time.
Upbot Goes Up
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 240 Microsoft Points (£2.04).
Yeah, Upbot goes up. That's all he does, the stubborn little sod. You can probably infer from this that his pals Leftbot, Rightbot and Downbot perform similar acts of mono-directional defiance. Cue puzzle antics!
In its original browser-based incarnation, Ishisoft's puzzler showed plenty of brow-furrowing raw potential, but seeing it in 'finished', fleshed-out form is yet another example of why paying attention to the Xbox Indie scene is well worth the time and effort.
Each of the 60 levels involves seemingly straightforward feats of cause-and-effect block movement, where getting each coloured block (or blocks) to its respective destination is the goal.
Some blocks, though, find themselves out of kilter on the grid and must be pushed by their chums before they can reach contentment. You often have to plot your route with a great deal of forethought, lest you find your Leftbot hung out to dry with no means of getting home.
Fortunately, you can backtrack move-by-move if you make a mistake, as opposed to having to start over from scratch. In a game that's increasingly driven by endless trial-and-error, such small mercies are very welcome indeed.
A few levels in, there's a remarkable sense of achievement for something that starts off so innocuous. The moment the blocks rocket into the air on a cloud of beaming elation, it's hard to drag yourself away.
Perhaps the only downside is the all-or-nothing nature of the levels. In the absence of a hint system, hitting a roadblock can stall your progress indefinitely. But if you feel the need to flex your puzzle muscles, Upbot Goes Up is the kind of puzzler to separate the men from the boys.