Fuzzy logic?

Fuzzball logo

System 3 * £19.99 * 1/2 meg * joystick * Out now

Drowning under a sea of Midget Gems may be the ultimate Childhood fantasy, but if it ever actually came true the shock could be too much for some.
Midget Gems are those fabulous sweets that have been variously described as "like wine gums but harder", "brilliant" and "those things broke my tooth you know". They come in assorted colours and flavours, from liquorice to strawberry, and are shaped something like a cup cake turned upside down, and shrunk a hundred times.

Now this begs an interesting question: how the hell do you know it is upside down? Is there some kind of microscopic message that reads "this way up" that we only become aware of on a subliminal level?
Or is it some kind of primitive instinct that has been handed down through the genes of generations of dedicated Midget Gem eaters that makes us all blissfully aware of exactly which way round the conical confectionery should go? Or some kind of plot by some crooked political faction to subvert the nation's sweet eaters?

Imagine the effect if all of a sudden the people were told that their favourite sweets had been the wrong way up all along - never will a milk carton be opened the same way, people will be forever juggling their bags of Monster Munch in an effort to suss out which end to open.

But what has all this wibble got to do with a game? Probably very little but the dangerous similarity between the antagonists in this game and the aforementioned Midget Gems is quite disturbing. It made me wonder. Why? Well you see it all started like this...
The Sorcerer's apprentice decided, in a very Mickey Mouse kind of way, that sweeping the floors and learning to cast "Banish Earwax" and "Remove Navel Fluff" spells was no longer enough. Yes, the impatience of youth was beginning to become impossible to bear.

It all came to a head when the Sorcerer had to go on some urgent errand (apparently Spells 'R' Us were having a bulk shift of bat's wings and the guy just couldn't afford to miss out) so he told the apprentice not to touch anything - especially not the big interesting-looking case which has nothing of interest in it. No sir, not that one.

Curiosity suitably aroused, the apprentice could hardly wait for the old codger - he was at Methusaleh's twenty first - to go so he could grab a shufti at the spell book and get the case open.
Minutes later, straining under the weight of the dust which the sorcerer paid someone to painstakingly apply to the spell book every day for that "authentic" feel, our apprentice carried the book to the lectern. Upon opening this copious tome the aura of magic around it was all-consuming, drawing in, seducing the apprentice. Soon he found the spell he needed - 'How to open a big, interesting-looking case which has nothing of interest in it at all. No sir, not that one'. Uncanny.

He recited the spell: "He's 'ere, 'e's there, é's every flamin' where 'e's Brian McClair, 'e's Brian McClair", and soon there was a glowing ball hovering just in front of his nose. He gathered it in his shivering hands and flung the orb at the case. It disappeared into the keyhole.
The case began jumping around the table in that drawing-pin-up-your-behind manner that schoolteachers the world over are familiar with. Smoke billowed from under the lid. Then it all stopped. The place went quiet. No-one made a sound. Silence, really.

Convinced he had failed in his first meanderings into grown-up magic he went over to the case and stared at it, only to be flung back in surprise as the case's lid flew open and out came millions upon millions (well, quite a few) of Midget Gems. Sorry. Fuzzballs.
"Drat" he thought. Or something. He had to think fast, he had to cast a spell that would put them all back in the case - then no-one would be any the wiser. Obvious really. "Always look on the bright side of life [whistley bit]". Disaster! The apprentice was a Fuzzball. "Damn," he said.

When the Sorcerer returned the apprentice/Fuzzball was quietly blubbing to himself in a corner. "Blub. I should have listened to me mother and joined the bank like she wanted. Blub. Blub."
The air was turned blue as the Sorcerer returned and made some swift mental calculations as to what exactly had gone on - he was clever like that.

The punishment was simple. Clear the 50 chambers of the castle of every single little furry thingy, then maybe the Sorcerer will see fit to return the apprentice to his human form, and let him keep his job.
Cue fifty level platform game. The objective is simple. As a Fuzzball, you must negotiate the intricate one screen levels and collect all the jewels - which are there for no reason that I can fathom out, but they do help the gameplay. Oh, and shoot all the rouge Fuzzballs.

Sounds easy, but there is a lot more to it. If you can do it then it is perfectly acceptable to just take the jewels and forget the Fuzzballs, but in practice this is usually impossible.

There are four different kinds of Fuzzball - green, purple, black and red. Green are the easiest to get rid off, red the worst. The principle of destroying them is quite simple - using the little balls that you can split you hit them enough times to turn them into mini versions of the next colour up.
This mini ball will bounce for four times giving you the chance to touch it and get rid of it completely. If you don't manage to touch it, then it transfers to the next and more dangerous colour, green to purple, purple to black and so on.

Each colour of Fuzzball has its own behaviour pattern. Green will just move back and forth in a confined space, purple will do the same until you jump onto the same platform when they will race towards you, black will race back and forth over several platforms, turning when you jump onto their route and red will do the same but an awful lot faster.

The Fuzzball you control must jump around, across, up and down the numerous platforms of the level. Often the route around the screen must be planned very carefully because it is impossible to get off certain platforms. Some of them you won't need to go near, but once per level you will find one with a jewel on that must be left until last, and it won't always be particularly obvious.

The later levels need a lot of thought before even moving as to exactly how they are going to be tackled. IT will often be a little less than clear as to exactly what you are going to have do. But that is all part of the challenge.

Graphically it can't be faulted - it possesses that coin-op feel that Parasol Stars has, but goes one better. It gradually progresses through four distinct graphical styles, that provide a variety in the backgrounds to keep the interest up. With the added bonus of a high class animated intro dramatising the above, it will beguile the player from the start.

The sound is initially a bit iffy as the intro tune sounds as though it would be more at home on the ST, but in game it improves to the point where you can almost fail to notice that there are only about three different sound effects. A game like this needs a lot of unnecessary sounds to liven it up and make it more enjoyable, and to give it a chance of standing up against other games in the genre.

The playability is superb - the levels are all challenging and there are no easy levels to give you a rest. The main Fuzzball is extremely manoeuvrable and provides lots of fun. This, though, also presents a problem - for less experienced gamers the high difficulty level right form the start will prove to be a turn off, but for hardened joystick bashers it will be a godsend.

The biggest thing in its favour is its price - £20 for this kind of game is very keen marketing, but it does mean that it is a very strong game at a very good price.

Fuzzball logo

They look cuddly but are as a vicious as hell, that's the Fuzzball way. It's a platform challenge in the classic style, but do the furry critters cut it as cuties?

Fuzzballs have become a problem. Springing from a sorcerer's magic box, the fluffy critters have taken over his tower. You, the sorcerer's apprentice, have turned yourself into a fuzzball too and as punishment are sent up the tower to round the others up. If you complete this penance then the wizard will turn you back into human form; fail and you're a fuzzball for life.

The tower provides one part of this tricky problem, the fuzzballs themselves are another. The tower is a platform palace, crammed with small ledges which provide an ideal hiding place for the escaped fluffies. The final twist is that the fuzzballs have raided the wizard's treasure room and scattered his considerable horde of gems about the place.

Every single last jewel has to be collected and every fuzzball exterminated if you are to regain human shape. If you think this sounds easy! Then Think again!

The trouble with tribbles
The trouble with fuzzballs is that they won't stay dead. Shoot one and they shrink into a tiny ball. At this point you have to leap onto the fallen fuzzball to nudge them from the ledge. Fail and they return in a tougher purple form which takes far more shots to kill.

IF they are shot and left to regenerate again they turn black and that's bad news. Not only are black balls harder to hurt but they have a limited intelligence. The instant you shoot one they actively seek you out. Fail once more to top the critter and the fuzzball turns red. At this point they no longer wait to be shot, but just come hunting for your hide.

The upside of this vicious little trait is that the harder the colour, the greater the points value. :Points are the key to success in Fuzzball as for every 100,000 an extra life is earned. Luckily 100,000 isn't that high a total and forcing the fuzzies to cough up the necessary extra points for a bonus life has a peculiarly just ring to it.

The delicate balance between player points and punishment is continued through the game's time limit. If you fail to clear the level within a set time - the time limit isn't displayed, but is generous - then a horde of bats escape and kill you. The first time this happens it feels real vicious, not just unpleasant, not just nasty, but downright unfair. But, when the screen clears however and you restart the level, it's been cleared of all the fuzzballs and fatal traps. This allows you to romp home, get the goodies and get out.

The final part of the equation is the expected high level of 'stick skill'. The maps require pixel perfect jumps both to reach the safety of solid ground and to avoid the fuzzballs. Many platforms can be jumped through on the up too, so it's vital that you watch the skies as well as the floor. If you hit a beasty on the hop then you die in most annoying fashion. But, if you insist on doing silly things you deserve to suffer. A fuzzball's life is a harsh but fair one.

At times Fuzzball would start Mother Teresa cursing, but once she got a high score...

Level headed
Fuzzball is not just a leap and shot number, each set of levels has a theme and their own particular hazards. The ice level for instance, tests control by adding a skidding momentum to each stopping move. It doesn't make life easier, but it sure makes life more interesting.

Most levels also exhibit maze tendencies, where the jewels have to be collected and the fuzzballs killed in a set order. Leap for the big shiny points magnet at the beginning of the round and you can find yourself safe but stuck. So each layout has to scanned for its route in advance, if you are to avoid the frustration of ending up stuffed and sat in a corner when the bats arrive on the scene.

Fuzzball is an exercise in control, of both your character and your temper. Despite being small and spherical you have surprisingly free movement. No fluke, this has been assessed and added into the game, with platforms and jewels in apparently inaccessible nooks and crannies. You have to calculate how to reach them and back it up with accurate joystick work. This can prove annoying, but in best puzzle style. You know why you died, and why you went wrong!

Minimalist moments
Disguising the game's vicious bite are heavy-duty cutesy graphics. The intro's awash with Fantasia overtones and it is System 3's best opener to date. Once in the game the fuzzballs have an appealing minimalism. Like all classic cutesy stars, the simpler the design the stronger their appeal - just look at the Lemmings - and you can't get much simpler than a coloured circle with eyes. The fuzzballs all start plain and are increasingly dressed up to suit their surroundings. An array of plinkety, plink tunes do their best to keep pace with the visuals, but eventually fall foul of te volume control.

System 3 were aiming to recapture the gameplay feel of the old arcade classics and mix it with quality 1990s graphics. They have succeeded in all areas save one. Whereas everything else is fair with reward and risk balanced, the regenerative monsters are not. If a fuzzball is shot into black or red status and you die before jumping it in to oblivion, the game restarts with them still in ultra-hostile mode. The extra shots needed to slay them then throw this delicate skills test out of killer. The red devils are too tough to kill from a vulnerable game restart position, and no amount of player skill can escape this trap. The reds do what reds do best, and go for the throat - although where exactly the throat is on a ball of fur isn't that clear!

Balancing acts
Fuzzball is a strong, cute, platform challenge that's best suited to the extremely patient. It has its rewards and does evoke many memories of yesteryear's playing styles, in terms of control and balance. It's when this this balance is destroyed by the fuzzballs who don't reset, that it falls down.

This could have been offset with more frequent level passwords, but unfortunately these only pop up eery 10 levels rather than at the end of reach.

Fuzzball is playable and cute, but the vicious bite of the gameplay is overpowering in the early stages. Plough on and you will prosper, but you need to suffer for the points harvest to come. This one negative element has to be weighed against its fistful of excellent elements: cute graphics, neat intro, precise character control and a £19.99 price point. At times Fuzzball would start Mother Teresa cursing, but then when she got a high score...

Knallharte Flaumballe

Fuzzball logo

Wenn System 3 ein neues Spiel für den Amiga heraus bringt, handelt es sich in der Regel um die Umsetzung eines alten 64er-Klassikers - meist ist es der letzte Ninja. Oder der allerletzte. Oder der allerallerletzte...

Überraschung: Ein Fuzzball ist tatsächlich kein Schattenkrieger im Faschingskostum, sondern ein Flaumballchen, das hüpfen und ballern kann!

Und das ist nicht die einzige gute Nachricht, denn es gibt hier ein sehr chices Intro. Daraus ist zu erfahren, daß es sich bei unserem Flauscheballchen in Wirklichkeit um einen verwandelten Zauberlehrling handelt - puh, das war knapp, es hatte ja auch ein verzauberter Ninja sein können. Um seine menschliche Gestalt wiederzuerlangen, muß der Ninja, Quatsch, der Fuzzball 50 Plattform-Level (plus versteckte Bonuslevel) voller Früchte, Kristalle und böser Flaumbällchen absolvieren.

Zunächst wird vornehmlich der Ballerfinger beansprucht: Die feindlichen Balle sind extrem üble Zeitgenossen, die nach dem Abschießen zu noch übleren mutieren, um unseren Heldenball zu verfolgen und erst nach wiederholtem Beschuß klein beizugeben.

Später gibt's teuflisch angelegte Plattformgebilde, die eher Hirnakrobatik fordern, und noch später sind schließlich wahre Hüpforgien angesagt. Alles schon und gut, auch grafisch (süuuß!) und sound mäßig (Musik & FX) ist Fuzzball sehr ordentlich geraten.

Leider gilt das weniger für die Joysticksteuerung, darüberhinaus wird im Zwei-Spieler-Modus (nach einander) beim Wechsel jedesmal nachgeladen, und der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist frustrierend hoch. Aber wer sich zu den Zocker-Experten zählt, kann ja mal ein Hüpferchen wagen. (mm)

Fuzzball logo

Change of tune dept: System 3 swap traditional black belts for cutesy puzzling with lethal balls of fluff...

They're small, they're round, they bounce along on the ground, they're fuzzy balls. They're also the rather appealing Gremlin-like stars of System 3's new and interesting prices (i.e. five quid cheaper than usual) arcade platform puzzle game thing, titled (logically enough) Fuzzball. And, as the AMIGA POWER team are well known suckers for anything cute and platformy, their game was one of the most eagerly awaited arrivals in the ffice this month. Let's see how it does, shall we? (And remember, this may a cute game, but you'll find no soft, fluffy or spongy reviewing here).

A most impressive Fantasia-style Sorcerer's Apprentice animated intro kicks things off. This sets the scene, showing how curiosity not only killed the cat, but tempted a curious young wizard into setting loose a crate of malicious lumps of fur, which then zoomed away to infest every corner of the castle.

Accidentally turning himself into another (similarly small and squishy) furball in a doomed attempt to fix his cock-up, our hero is set the task of rounding up the furry louts, leaving the castle clean of any troublesome tribble-like creatures.

All well and good then - though like many animated intros this does leave you looking at the same picture a mite too long each time - and it's onto the game proper, where we find a 50 screen castle of platforms, ladders, goodies to collect, and (of course) fuzzballs.

First impressions are of a bold, eye-pleasing and Bubble Bobble-influenced puzzle game. A few plays, however, reveals that a squishy fuzzball isn't quite as easy to handle as our old friends Bub and Bob.

On each screen a motley collection of fuzzballs (complete with fetching earrings) maliciously hop back and forth along the platforms, just waiting for our Fuzzy to make a move. It's at this point that Fuzzy's anti-fuzzball ammo comes in handy - a couple of blasts are needed to mutate an enemy fuzzball into a smaller, harmless blob, which then needs collecting. Failure to do so within a couple of seconds results in the fuzzball growing back as a harder, meaner and altogether more unsavoury creature - one who requires even more blasts to turn him back into blob form.

Subsequent screw-ups on the same fuzzball ultimately result in one mean mutha of a red nasy, who darts back and forth (jumping platforms without a care) in mutant frenzy. This is problem number one - once you've created even the softest of mutant fuzzballs (and it's very easy to do, the time given to collect each harmless blob being so short) you've effectively mucked up the game, and it's just a good an idea to deliberately die and start again as it is to try and combat the beasts. As you can guess, it's a good idea to get it right first time.

Then there's problem number two. The control system in Fuzzball takes some time to get to grips with, to say the least. A jump can only be performed when our Fuzzy has his squishy body firmly fixed to the platform surface - fast and furious jumping is not the name of the game.

Movement simply isn't as free and easy as it should be, though to be fair. Fuzzy's trajectory can be fine tuned once he's in the air, his left and right movement being completely under the player's control. This makes it possible to drop down onto ledges which are actually directly below the current one. Many players in the office have found it difficult to come to terms with these unusual characteristics, but I have to say I found an hour or so was enough to familiarise myself with most of Fuzzy's little quirks.

And while we're at it there's problem number three - a seeming total lack of restart points. Once you've finally completed the first screen - and this has to be one of the trickiest first screens in recent memory - you're put onto the second one with another three lives. Waste these (and we managed to no problem) and you're right back into the trials and tribulations of screen one again. Aargh! With a ten second loading break between reach new game this soon becomes foot-through-the-TV-screen frustrating.

There're some aspects which are just great some just grate

But whoa, we're a bit negative here. Beyond the first Fuzzy frustrations, it soon becomes apparent that there's quite an interesting game in here. Beneath the arcade-platform exterior there's quite a bit of puzzling to be done. Careful planning is needed to complete each screen - often only doing things in a set order will manage it. Slick joystick skills alone aren't enough, and it's this unusual aspect of the game which prevents Fuzzball being criticized as a second-rate Bubble Bobble - it's actually rather different.

The final part of this hairy game equation comes in the form of a host of other nasties which patrol the castle. What they're doing there I don't know - what I do know is that one touch sends poor Fuzzy to fuzzball heaven. These range from a fairly innocent-looking beach ball on level one (who'd expect a beach ball to be deadly for goodness sake?) to whizzing coins and what look suspiciously like extra power tokens to be collected.
These, in fact, turn out to be as deadly as any of Fuzzy's other enemies, which strikes me as just plain stupid. When a circle with the letter 'T' bounced up and down, my immediate reaction is to collect the bleeding thing, not avoid it - it's one of the conventions of gameplaying and going against it seems simply perverse.

And that's the basic structure of the game really. There's little else to say, except that in addition to the 50 main levels, there're also five hidden bonus rooms to be found - a quick respite from the main game, and a chance to gain lots of extra points.

I must admit to rather a liking for Fuzzball - it's a game with real charm,. The satisfying squelch Fuzzy makes when landing on a ledge is a particularly magical touch - it gives him character, and ties in with his quirky jumping style - while the bold, colouful graphics are another plus point. Although it's a 2D platform game, a slight 3D shadow effect gives depth to the surprisingly-detailed backgrounds.

You can't deny you won't get a lot of game-time out of it either. Even once the first couple of screens have been mastered (no mean feat), cockiness is not recommended. There're still the other 48 levels to get through, which should provide more than enough playing time for even the best games players - each one lasting at least a couple of minutes (and usually requiring several plays to suss out). The price pint is good news too - there's certainly £20 worth of good, clean, hairy fun lurking in here. For once nobody's getting ripped off.

That said though, it's not the game it ought to be. Nearly all the faults are of the scrappy play-testing type and could be fixed inside a week's programming work tops, but as it stands the game can prove incredibly annoying. Yes, I've got my gripes with Fuzzball, and they're not small at that.

The sheer difficulty of the screens is my main problem. The nasties are just a bit too nasty (in fact they're plain vicious) and the puzzles just a bit too mean for my liking. It's not just my opinion either. Everybody who's had a go at Fuzzball has found it simply too frustrating - every game should have a couple of simple levels to ease the player into the structure of it for a start. This doesn't.

I also still find myself getting mad at the control system. It's just a little too slow, finicky and pernickety. It may allow accurate movement, but this results in things not being 'clean' enough. Jumps and movements can't be controlled in a simple, straightforward manner - something a bit simpler and more direct would have been a good idea. And then there are the wasps, a never-ending swarm of which appear if a screen isn't completed quickly enough. What's the point? They can't be avoided, so the game may as well deduct a life. It's infuriating and I can't see the reasoning behind it at all (particularly on the first few screens).

My final bugbear concerns the speed at which the blasted fuzzballs return from harmless blobs into more frenzied nasties. There just isn't a reasonable amount of time in which to collect them while in blob form. And then, of course, your failure just makes the screen even harder to complete. Great! Just when the player is doing badly, the game gets even harder.

Hey ho. As you can see, there're some aspects of Fuzzball which are just great, and some which just grate. If it had been programmed with just a little more thought for the player, this would have been one of the best Amiga platform-cum-puzzlers around. I like it. But I don't love it. It may be cute and it may have fluff, but (ahem) that doesn't mean that its edges aren't rough.

Fuzzball: Explanation of Level 1
  1. Fuzzy begins his 50 screen quest here. It's then a short waddle and jump over to those four green meanies patrolling the bottom platform.
  2. Having blobified the fuzzballs with some quick blasting, it's back over to the left again, and then upwards.
  3. Shooting the two purple nasties, then quickly leaping onto the platform should do the trick.
  4. Timing is essential here. Wait for the right moment, then drop down and blast the unsuspecting fuzzies!
  5. It gets a bit complicated around here. Drop down, blast the fuzzballs, then jump up (collecting the gems as you go), drop down the right hand side, then jump back to (4). Easy.
  6. This bit is easier than it looks. Let Fuzzy drop, then quickly pull right on the joystick. THe little guy should then ease into that platform, and collect the goodie in the process.
  7. Getting past the beachball is easy peasy. Wait for the ball to move down towards the platform, then jump.
  8. Collect this last piece of fruit, and that's the first screen completed!
Fuzzball: Beach Ball
It's not all fluff in the wizard's castle! This beach ball is surprisingly lethal (though it simply bounces up and down).
Fuzzball: Red Thing
This little red thing is actually a goodie to collect. Points ahoy!
Fuzzball: Rotating 3D Cube
Rotating 3D cubes sweep left and right, knocking Fuzzy for six.
Fuzzball: Red Fuzzball
The red fuzzballs are the meanest. Avoid like crazy!
Fuzzball: Dark Purple Fuzzball
While these dark purple ones are slighly less evil (but pretty nasty all the same).
Fuzzball: Light Purple Fuzzball
The light purple meanies are a piece of cake to whack...
Fuzzball: Green Fuzball
...while the green dudes are just unbelievably easy to get rid of.
Fuzzball: Fuzzy
And here's Fuzzy himself. (What an ugly little beggar he is!)

Fuzzball logo

And now a quick word from Nanette Newman: "Sometimes I like to have a break from the dishes to wash some jumpers but it's most annoying when they go all ball-y." And an even quicker word from Amaya Lopez: "So Nanette went and sold her balls of fluff to System 3. Some people will do anything for money."

Having finally decided against Now That's What We Call Ninja Vol III, System 3 has deviated from the path of gratuitous violence and opted for a more cutesy approach. Fuzzball, a frenzied game of bouncing fluff balls, is its humble Christmas offering. And as they say in the Lenor ads: "Beware of fluff balls with a past". For the fluff balls populating this game were first born unto green jumpers. Some mutated into purple balls, some into black and others into the widely-feared red balls. Not only that, a minority of the aforementioned balls have deep ethnic roots, being of Gypsy or Jewish origins.

You play the ball of fluff astracised from society due to its lovely blue colour (how ignorant). Sadly, you are the only pastel blue fuzzball in the game and so find yourself somewhat out on a limb (or you would do, if you had any).

However, you can dwell on your glorious past as you watch the animated intro sequence. As a former sorcerer's apprentice, you delived into a chest and released the devilish fluffballs which multiplied like gremlins in a jacuzzi. For your sins, you were turned into a fluffy mass - destined to go it alone in a cruel Remington Fuzzaway-free zone.

There are 50 screens to bounce through, collecting fruits and jewels as you go, while shooting the enemy fuzz in time to knock them off their platfforms. Take heed, though - if you walk into a fluffy, you'll die instantly. And if you fail to knock a fuzzball off its platform after shooting it, it'll spookily mutate into a speedier one of demonic proportions.

For example, green ones become ugly purple ones, purple ones turn into heinous black fluffies and these in turn become red basts. To make things even trickier, you're battling against a time limit. Fail to bounce furiously enough and infinite nasties - bats, wasps etc - will attack, leaving you with no alternative but to fluff off.

Amiga reviewAmaya: The first rule of thumb when playing this game is 'Never trust a seemingly harmless ball of fluff.'Approaching one in a friendly, off-guard manner is likely to spell instant death. And once you've shot one, if your timing's hopeless (like mine was), you'll find you've created a fuzzball more fiendish than you could ever have imagined.

By the time I was onto the black ones, I was entering desperation city. The terrain also becomes trickier as you progress - watch out for the treacherous, slippery ice levl. You have to be a pretty deft joystick waggler to do well in this game - believe you me, one foul bounce can send you hurtling through the gaps to your death.

Graphically, it's as colourful as a box of Fuzzy Felt with neatly animated fluffies sporting Marine Boy eyes. The animated intro sequence at the start of the game is well done, but does go on for a bit too long. Weird sucking noises and cute 'boings' accompany the soundtrack, which is spookily reminiscent of Gremlins (the movie).
There's also a two-player option if you want to play against a chum (but make sure you practice first).

All in all, Fuzzball offers nothing widly original on the cutesy platform puzzle front, containing elements of both Pacman and Bombjack. I'm also not sure how ideologically sound it is to have Gypsy and Jewish fuzzballs wearing skull caps, but hey - when you're talking computer games, who wants ethics?

Nevertheless, the combination of frantic waggling against the clock, not to mention the difficulty level, presents a real challenge and makes Fuzzball irritatingly addictive. It's that 'one more go' factor which makes this game special, though Nanette's not convinced that it's kind your hands. Stop