Gobliiins - iOS Review

   02/11/2010 at 11:48       Drew Bower       3 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Gobliiins, DotEmu, iPhone, Classic Remake, Point and Click

Until news of a Gobliiins remake was underway, I have to admit that it was a series which had completely passed me by. Nevertheless, a quick Google later and I could see that the game would be an ideal fit for Apple’s iOS devices.

Gobliiins is a point and click puzzle game where you take control of three Goblins (hence the three i’s in the game’s title) who each have their own unique skills. Asgard (BoBo in the US release – all three names are changed in the US version), is the agile member of the team. His main skill involves using his fists to punch objects causing them to break or fall over. He is also the only Goblin capable of climbing areas that aren’t ladders or steps. Second comes Ignatius (US: Hooter) a magician who casts spells on objects to create many different outcomes. Finally we have Oups (US: Dwayne) the technician of the team. His skill set comprises picking up and using the many items you will come across.

Naturally, the key to the game is successfully combining the three’s skills to solve the puzzle of each screen.

The game begins in humorous fashion as the King settles down to a fine banquet with his guests. All is fun and games until a mysterious looking voodoo doll appears in the shape of the king with which the wielder proceeds to torture the poor chap relentlessly. Thus the Gobliiins set out to find the whereabouts of the voodoo doll and its owner. Humour is constant throughout the adventure. Even when highly frustrated trying to solve a puzzle, the reactions of the Goblin’s can’t fail to raise a smile.
Developers DotEmu have been very loyal to the original version first released back in the early 1990’s. Graphically, the colours are nigh on identical as are the digitised sound effects and music.

Not only in looks and sound, but the gameplay is ‘old school’ too – almost punishingly so. Even the very first screen – normally a safe haven where controls can be taught and lead you gently into the full game – leaves you in no doubt things are not going to be easy. Without wanting to spoil things too much, the first screen sees you placed in an area with a house and gate. Naturally, you assume the goal is to enter the house or go through the gate. Not so. Instead you must use magic on an innocuous looking branch to turn it into a pickaxe. This kind of logic coupled with some random elements makes the game not something for the easily discouraged. This is further enhanced by the Goblin’s easily depleted life meter which can be reduced by leaving a Goblin in the wrong place at the wrong time or simply trying out a skill on an object. There’s no real way of knowing what will happen until you try it out, so this does feel rather harsh.

The difficulty of Gobliiins is something that will either turn you off completely or make you determined to finish a screen without losing any life bar. Thankfully, an in game hints system is always at hand. Although the hints are pretty blunt in their suggestions, so if you end up reading any, you can’t really fail to succeed.

Gobliiins features two different control methods. The first gives you complete touch control. You can tap a Goblin to select him and then tap an object to make them interact. The second option features an on screen cursor. I actually preferred the cursor method as it gives slightly more accurate control. Both methods work well though and it’s nice to see DotEmu give players the option.

As classic game remakes go, DotEmu have done a stellar job in bringing Gobliiins to iOS. Sure, the difficulty and seeming unfairness will soon deter a lot of players, but if you fancy cracking a tough nut, then give it a go.

Gobliiins is scheduled for release on 4 November. To learn more about DotEmu’s remake, check out our interview with the guys where they talk about the issues of bringing a cult classic back to life.

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