The trickle of new Acorn Electron releases over the last couple of months continues with Retro Power's Elementum, a new monochrome platform game in which you control a rolling ball who must collect eight 'status flags' (zeroes or ones) on a number of levels.
This is a seriously annoying game. Firstly, it's very fast. Secondly, you need to do everything perfectly in order to reach the flags you need. And thirdly, the combination of speed and precision needed makes it all very, very tricky. If you're familiar with any of the 'old' Electron platformers (The Hacker, Jet Set Willy, and so on), you may well have wished they were a little bit faster at the time. However, Elementum is the equivalent of taking one of those and running it at 300% speed. And, what's more, you can even hold down the SHIFT key to 'turbo' charge the ball.
Seriously, this game is so fast, if you blink, your ball will be on the other side of the screen.
The aim of the game is to collect up the flags by leaping from platform to platform, avoiding the patrolling nasties, and collecting all flags before the timer runs out. The first few levels are easily beaten but when the game started to introduce holey bridges at level six, it became so ridiculously hard that I threw the disc out of the window and I don't think I'll ever be returning to it.
There are a few nice inclusions. There's a password feature, and you do have infinite lives. I also like how quickly you die, and reincarnate. In keeping with the speediness of the game, it's just a quarter-second buzz and you can try again instantly. It all plays full-screen too and it's pretty different to anything else available for the Electron. Graphics and animation are fairly good too, and there's even a beeper tune on the attract page (a true rarity in Electron games).
As of March 2021, there is a physical release of Elementum at £12.99 on both 3.5" and 5.25" disc and a free poster (Just what you've always wanted!). I'm not sure the quality of the game warrants such attention. In fact, the phrase I want to use now is that it's World Cup Carnival all over again. But I suppose that's not entirely fair. It's a game that's sort of average and put together with a large degree of finesse. I'd say definitely try before you buy with this one.