Ocean have been very quiet recently as far as the Amiga is concerned. Even though they hold in their hands two of the most awaited Amiga games to date (Inferno and TFX), for quite a while now we've had little cause to chase the cheeky Mancunans for review software. So quiet were they that I almost didn't hear this package drop through the letterbox. While Millennium are jumping up and down with joy at the release of James Pond 3. Ocean are whispering that Mr Nuts has arrived.
Mr Nutz is a cute little squirrel who has to save a planet from the clutch of evil chickens from outer space. Okay, so the plot might reek a little of Alfred Chicken, but we'll gloss over that for the moment. Using all his skill and judgement. Mr Nuts has to work across the huge maps that make up the planet, systematically closing down all the chicken bases while helping his friends Mr Hitpoint, Mr Rabbit and Mr Pigeon. He does this in two ways. Firstly, there's the scrolling platform bit, which looks absolutely gorgeous in these screenshots, you have to admit. Bright, vivid colours, large cute sprites, and if you could see that silky smooth animation - oh, it would take your breath away. This is only a small pan of the game, however.
The real game happens in a Zelda-style scrolling walkabout around the map, finding bombs, opening chests, talking to characters and so on. For some reason this all takes place in a window that takes up no more than an eighth of the screen, which is incredibly frustrating. Mr Nuts is, basically, a mapper's dream, as they mark down all the paths with their twists and turns along the way. Using teleporters, ladders, rafts and bombs you work through the map until you close down an island. Then it's off to the next level.
Looking at the game, it's quite obvious that the whole thing is perfect for the younger market. The characters are all done in a cute, colourful way. There are no real taxing puzzles and the platform sections are over as soon as they start. This is no justification for the low mark, however.
The relatively low mark I've given it has come about due to the one major shortcoming that Mr Nutz, like so many before it, has suffered from: there is very little gameplay. The map section is far too simple to be of any real value to a games-player, and the fact that everything happens on a tiny screen is unforgivable. Why not make it full screen? It would have made all the difference!
It's the platform section where the whole game falls apart. Mr Nuts can run at approximately 130 miles per hour. However, levels are only playable if you move at 20mph. Interestingly enough you can belt from one end of the level to the other at top whack in around fifteen seconds and only lose a small amount of energy. This game will only pose a problem to real games-players if they let it.
Just as well, really, as the colour scheme renders everything in the platform sections little more than a multi-coloured mess. I'm all for using hundreds of colours, as long as they aren't all garish green! What is the point of having a game so colourful that you can't actually tell where the backdrops end and the sprites begin? I was getting hit by things I couldn't see until they'd hit me, and avoiding things that ended up being nothing more than on screen 'furniture'.
It's just a real shame that this had to come out at the same time as James Pond 3, it really is. Not that I want to get too negative or anything, but there really is no competition. One is a fast, playable platformer with puzzle twists and various other interactive elements, and the other is bright, colourful but ultimately thin and characterless.
Mr. Nutz as you can see is a squirrel. Of course he is the hero of the game Mr. Nutz. It's not an ordinary platform game, much more like the mix of Sonic and Zelda. You have to walk on a map from one village to another, talk to people. When you enter a village the game will switch to a platform view and you have to jump'n run.
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