Sunbucket (Stonechat Productions) Review | Crash Annual - Everygamegoing


By Stonechat Productions
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Crash Annual 2018


Sunbucket is an action-puzzle game that bears all the hallmarks of a true arcade classic: easy to get into, but tricky to master. Sunbucket - one of the strangest sprites ever (he looks like a green and pink saucepan in wheels) - must move around the platforms on each screen using his warm plasma field to switch on all the unit light bulbs.

This is accomplished by rolling over them and sometimes, just when all the bulbs are glowing, one or two of them might break, which means rolling over them again to get them working.

That might sound simple, and it would be if it weren't for the pesky bad guys guarding each of the many levels. Merciless Chasers, Happy Wanderers and Metronomic Patrollers all wait for Sunbucket to cross their paths, a frequence occurrence because there's no jump facility. Don't panic though, the levels have been cleverly designed with this in mind. Just remember that one touch from a bad guy results in instant death!

Sun Bucket

To add an extra bit of spice, lettered bonus cans have been placed in various positions on each level. Picking them up in the correct order spells MORE and earns an extra life. There are ten on offer; after which you earn bonus points instead.


When a game kicks off with a superb rendition of 'Danger! High Voltage' by Electric Six you know you're in for a treat. Einar Saukas's Nirvana Engine allows multi-coloured sprites and seeing these well-drawn sprins moving around for the first time on a Spectrum without a hint of colour clash is pretty amazing. And everything is extremely well animated and smooth too.

In between levels, the player is treated to a nicely animated light bulb screen - a welcome break if it's needed. Another nice touch is the password system: use up all of your lives on one of the later levels and you're given a password to access that level again without the need of playing through to that point. In terms of gameplay, anyone familiar with the last level of Donkey Kong should feel right at home here. Yes, it's a simple painter game in reality, but it's a very playable one at that and it really does have that frantic feel of an early arcade game - and it looks awesome. The only downside is the in-game audio, which results in the usual farts and beeps of a 48K game, but as there isn't a 128K version I couldn't really expect much more from the beeper.


The Nirvana engine, also used in Alter Ego 2, impresses here once again with stunning multicoloured graphics throughout. The game lacks music though, so the ambiance found in Alter Ego is missing - just some blops and burps as you clear each level by switching on all the light bulbs. A good game - although I question its long-term playability as I found that the repetition sinks in quite quickly.


Control Keys: Redefinable
Joystick: Sinclair
Keyboard play: Very responsive
Use of colour: Excellent, multi-colours in one 8x8 character square
Graphics: Small but beautifully drawn and animated
Sound: Great title track, spot effects in game
Skill levels: Progressively harder
Lives: Five
Screens: 40
Special Features: Nirvana engine graphics
General Rating: A simple game, well above average

Chris WilkinsDean Swain

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