When opening the Bograts box, I thought to myself, 'a new scrolling platform game, that'll be nice, unchallenging and relaxing to play on a Thursday afternoon in the office'. I've got news for you. It wasn't unchallenging or relaxing, indeed it was probably more challenging than trying to pull in a nunnery.
Vulcan's new release Bograts is without doubt one of the most deceptively hard arcade puzzle games I have every played. Trying to work out how to get through the 60 levels of simple looking, yet bloody hard, screens uses as much brain power as Einstein used to figure out that whole relativity business.
Although it looks like a cute arcade game it is rather more. The baby bograts you guide through the different levels behave exactly like the little rodents in the classic, Lemmings.
Oblivious to danger, they just walk into any obstacle waiting for them. The only hint as to where the baby Bograts are going to go is that they walk left and then right. With this in mind, ou can attempt to selectively open strategically placed doors and remove certain obstacles in front of them so as to avoid the various dangers.
Stupid as they may be, these baby bograts aren't just an annoying liability, they do serve a purpose. Both babies have special skills. Despite looking cute, the blue baby bograt is actually as hard as nails. If you run into any Fungus creatures, blue bogster will dispatch the rum fungus lad with a blood curdling roar.
Red baby bograt is as hard as marshmallow but is the only one of the three characters who can pick up keys and unlock doors. More importantly, there are large sections of the levels only accessible by the baby bograts so you must plan ahead and get them to reach whatever you can't. Each screen requires an entirely different strategy and it really is worth perusing the screen for a couple of minutes first.
If you get to level two and think things are difficult, wait till you get to ten - there are 60 levels in total. A couple of days playing this and you'll be doing pretty accurate Mr Gumby impressions - my heeeaaaaaadddddd huuuuuurrrrtttsss!
The sound effects are brilliant, whenever you jump up and collect something, be it a heart or an egg, a little daaannngggg noise sounds. Run into a big bunch of eggs or hearts and the game suddenly sounds like it's got a drum 'n' bass sound track. Your teleport to the next level is always heralded bya little bograt baby making a noise like a cross between a hiccup and a full on chunder. Worse still when the bog babies shuffle their mortal coil they make a weird and rather distressed miowww noise.
Graphic-wise the game is well presented and original. It has loads of fun little features that make it stand out from standard scrolling platform games. Hidden about the various levels are springs which shoot you across the screen at supersonic speeds, flames which suddenly flare up and roast you to a crisp and big red blocks that can be shoved into strategic locations to prevent the baby bog rats getting themselves killed (careful where you drop them, it's a bit gutting to drop a brick on your little bogsters).
Another bonus is the ridiculous, but hilarious, introduction animation. IT shows the two bograt babies being read a fairy tale by their mum. Mommy Bograt is speaking the most stupid sounding gobledegook heard since Mr Blobby. For example: 'Umum umum, ajurp, urp baya, urp baya'. This cross between burping, grunting and breaking wind is followed by a long rather dodgy sounding sigh. What the developer was on I don't know, but I want some.
My main criticism of Bograts is that it can be just too hard - to the point of being really annoying. However, do bear in mind that I'm the bloke who spent the best part of a year trying to complete Solitaire. I found after my first hour trying to figure out how to guide the baby bograts through five measly levels I wanted to head-but something.
Completing all 60 levels of Bograts would probably be more difficult than completing Quake.
Bograts is well up to Vulcan standards. The game is fun, massively challenging (for a spanner like me) and the concept is pretty original. With so many levels (all no doubt rock hard) to complete, there is little chance you would finish this game within about 6 months. Bograts is a tough, fun and instantly addictive game. Go buy it.