The Infeasible Game
Although Cronosoft is still selling new games for old formats, it has been uncharacteristically quiet as of late. Its Facebook page however did direct me to by Ian "Shape Shifter" Munro's latest Spectrum game. Called The Infeasible Game, it's an extremely smooth-scrolling platformer. All done in monochrome, and featuring the type of graphics that could've been designed on graph paper, it regrettably has much of the appearance of an Eighties type-in. Fortunately, there is a lot more to be said regarding playability.
You control an 8x8 chr$ box and, after a quick pause to "Get Ready", begins to scroll with the screen. You'll find you need to press the space bar to "jump" - so that your box isn't propelled straight into spikes, or flies off the edge of the platform on which you're travelling. Jumping flips your box in a surprisingly-spectacular arc - just the thing to either avoid those spikes, leap over a gap in the platform or, indeed, leap from the edge of one platform up to the start of another.
If you're familiar with Flappy Bird, then The Infeasible Game is a close cousin in terms of being a "one-way only pseudo reaction test" of a game. The skill is in not coming to a sticky end - such end sends you right back to the beginning for another attempt! - but, whilst in Flappy Bird the aim was to keep your bird airborne and flying through the randomly scrolling gaps in the landscape of pipes, here it's not only about how long you survive but also how well you can remember the sheet itself.
As in Flappy Bird, you end up colliding with scenery a lot. Your biggest peril is the spikes but even the innocent-looking platforms themselves are hazardous if you don't land on them correctly. Hence, to assist you in getting further in the game, and to prevent reducing you into a gibbering wreck within five minutes flat, you can save your position at any point in your trek over the platforms by dropping a flag. If you're familiar with emulator save states, then you'll quickly cotton on to this technique. Drop a flag then die - as you surely will - and you'll return to the position when the flag was deposited, not the very beginning of the sheet.
Alas, dropping even a single flag turns your entire attempt at the sheet into a "practice run". You may indeed reach the end, but it won't count for anything except to help you memorize the sheet for a "real" run, which must be completed without dropping a single flag.
Infeasible by name and infeasible by nature, it's not particularly impressive as a game concept. Firstly, as its name suggests, you're extremely unlikely to make it across even the first sheet without having to use the flags. Secondly, a big problem with using those flags is that you can drop one of them just before careering into a pit of spikes... and then get caught in an ever-repeating death loop. If so, the only option is to quit and start again. That's hardly encouraging stuff.
Nevertheless, The Infeasible Game handles well and there's a pulse-pounding piece of music in the background that lifts the gaming experience. There's also at least one disorienting inclusion on the very first sheet - just as you're getting the hang of it, the playing area suddenly turns upside down! There may well be further unexpected, and different, phenomena on subsequent sheets too. But it will be a very brave, and I suspect masochistic, player who ever sticks with the game long enough to see them.