Amiga Power


Author: Mark Ramshaw
Publisher: Coktel Vision
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #16


They're weird, they're French, they're stupid and we love 'em to bits. They're... Gobliins!

Just stop right there. Before I go any further, don't go thinking my finger slipped on the keyboard while typing the title. Yes, it's supposed to have three 'i's in it. Okay? Right, on with the review.

There's something you should know about Gobliiins. It's a French game. Now I'm not xenophobic, but it does sometimes make all the difference. It's not exactly one of those old-fashioned, rather crappy but somehow likeable French games. But then neither it is the new breed which brushes the competition confidently aside in a wave of hype and ballyhoo. Nope, Gobliiins hovers somewhere between the two. It's not the most ambitious game ever. But it's fun, intriguing, good to look at, and a fine game.


Imagine, if you will, a puzzle game with the visual style of, say, Monkey Island (rendered in the usual French pastel-o-vision). A puzzle game of 22 linear levers, where the problems must be solved by three moronic gobliiins, each using their special abilities. One Gobliiin can use objects he finds lying around, one gobliiin can punch things, and one gobliiin can cast spells. Individually, the gobliiins are pathetic specimens. Working as a team however, (kind of like The Professionals plus one, with the player in the role of Cowlie, portrayed by the one and only Gordon Jackson), the gobliins can eventually crack the puzzles on a screen and progress to the next (and need I say, harder) level.

It's a simple enough idea, but it's the style and execution of the thing which makes Gobliiins so endearing. The little gobliiins (help, somebody save the 'i' key on my keyboard) are animated with style and charm, and the sound effects are spot on. The mock-speech is particularly neat - it's almost possible to believe that it really does make some kind of sense to somebody, somewhere.

Okay, that's the credit where it's due. Now it's down time. Downer number one (and what a big downer it is) is that once you've played through Gobliiins you'll never, ever, play it again. This is intrinsic to the game design, but it's a bit of a problem nevertheless, particularly with only 22 levels to plough through. Problem number two is the levels are just too simple. I don't mean simple as in too easy to solve, rather simple as in once you know how, it only takes a minute. Combine this with problem one, and you've got, um, two problems.

Grumbles aside though, the puzzles are nicely, thought out. The control system is pretty straightforward, and I just can't help liking those little guys. It's daft and twisted sure, and it's not exactly Another World, but sometimes a neat little game goes down a treat. And, yes, I think it's just slightly better than Pushover.

The Bottom Line

Another quirky piece of French humour-in-game form. I don't know what they give the programmers over there, but make mine a double. Individual and lovable, Gobliiins isn't going to win any awards, but that's no reason not to like it. One of the freshest most likeable puzzlers.

Mark Ramshaw

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