In Plotting you play a small, brown, blobby creature called an Amsha. The game is played in a series of ornately-patterned rooms with blocks stacked in the corner.
The idea is to eliminate the blocks until there is only a specific number left. This is done by throwing a block into the pile, but only blocks displaying the same design and color as the one you are throwing can be destroyed. Once the block you have thrown has clattered through the pile killing blocks it matches, it is replaced by the block behind the last one destroyed. This new block is thrown back to the Amsha ready for the next attack.
The pile can be tackled directly from the side or by bouncing off pipes and pieces of masonry so that the blocks fall into the top of the stack, thus giving you a number of attack options. If there is no way that you can hit the required target block, then a miss is chalked up and you are given a 'magic' block which acts as a wild-card, allowing you to destroy blocks of any tupe. If you run out of the precious magic blocks, which acts as lives, the game comes to an end.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Puzzle games generally tend to go for one of two themes - either as a surreal experience with psychedelic graphics and ambient sound or with a cute appearance and a jolly soundtrack. Plotting goes for the latter, with the player controlling a blobby little blokey strutting his stuff across some well-drawn, colorful backgrounds to a cutesy, jangling backing track. Fortunately, the music can be turned off, as even the most jolly game player can only stand a certain amount of plinkity-plinity-plonk tunes.
Despite the compulsive action, the levels do not change too significantly from one t the next. The gameplay remains pretty simple and repetitive throughout and after playing for about half an hour will probably seem a tad boring. But leave the game alone for an hour or two and you soon find yourself booting it up again for a quick block-flinging session! Even if you do manage to steam around the levels, there is a construction kit for you to build your own screens - and designing devilishly difficult puzzles is almost as complicated as actually solving them!
Despite the rather daft title and overly cute appearance, Plotting is actually an intriguing and compulsive little puzzle game. The concept is simple enough to get into, but you still have to keep your eyes open and your mind on every move to complete the levels successfully. Getting complacent on even the easier levels is a sure way to quick defeat! These days it is difficult to come up with new computer puzzle ideas, but Plotting is certainly original and highly playable to boot!
Ocean's French arm has just put the finishing touches to Taito's arcade puzzle game Plotting and is destined to become yet another completely absorbing, mind-challenging game in the vein of Klax and Tetris.
Like all games of the genre, the rules are simple, it takes seconds to learn and yet, mastering it will take countless hours. Four different types of blocks are arranged into various patterns of rows and columns. You are set a target by the computer; a time limit and the number of blocks you must get down before you finish.
Blocks are removed by moving your glowing Pacman who holds one block into a position whereby he can hit blocks in the main pile that have an identical pattern. Any usable block remaining is returned to him for the next go. If there is no usable block left, you loose a life. One or two players can play simultaneously and that is about it. The rail brain power comes in when you try to score higher points by maneuvering blocks to that you hit more than one per shot.
The music is simple yet complementary to the game and adds to the overall feeling, especially when it speeds up once you are down to the last 30 seconds.
Plotting is simply brilliant. The addition of a Plot construction kit means that it will give timeless appeal, as you can put together your own levels with differing brick formations and pipes which you can bounce tiles off from the side or shoot through the middle from above. Pipes coupled with the various designs of roofs means that there are some points that cannot be reached so it becomes important on later levels to think ahead and calculate your moves.
Everything here adds up to a sophisticated puzzle game that is simple enough for children to play and yet harbors a challenge that will always have you coming back just one more time. An essential game.
Why the strange title I've no idea - it has no plot! But as it's a puzzle game it doesn't really matter.
The screen is split vertically to allow simultaneous two-player action; they can work through the levels independently or compete against each other. If you're using the left half, an array of square tiles in the bottom right of your area. You steer a potato-like creature that can spit a tile at the array, either directly from the side or by rebounding off the steps above. If it hits another tile (or row of tiles) of the same design it erases it, throwing out the next different design. The aim is to reduce the number of tiles to set a number to progress to the next level. If it's not possible to hit a tile of the same design, one of three missed shots is used up.
Later levels are complicated by awkward arrangements of steps and pipes. A construction kit allows tiles, steps and pipes to be arranged as desired.
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