Plotting logo

OCEAN £TBA * Joystick

Puzzle games seem to staging rather a comeback, what with Welltris and Block Out last month and the surreal Extase this month. Things are definitely veering towards the cerebral.

Ocean's foray into the scene appears in the form of 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 colour as the one you are throwing can ben 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.


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, colourful 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!

Plotting logo Amiga Joker Hit

Die einfachsten Spiele sind immer noch die besten. Das war bei "Tetris" so, das hat sich bei "Klax" gezeigt, und das gilt auch für "Plotting"!

Unter Zeitdruck sollen mit gezielten Würfen Steinhaufen abgebaut werden, die aus vier verschiedenen Steinsorten bestehen. Entfernt werden können aber nur solche Steine, die das gleiche Symbol tragen wie der "Wurfstein". Da sich der Haufen mit jedem abgeschossenen Stein verändert (die Dinger rutschen nach, wenn ein Platz frei wird), und man jedesmal einen neuen Wurfstein kriegt (und zwar den, der in Wurfrichtung gesehen hinter dem gerade getroffenen liegt bzw. Gelegen hat), ist viel Gehirnakrobatik gedraft, wenn man sich nicht den Weg verbauen will.

Zwar sind auch Supersteine vorhanden, die sich überall verwenen lassen - halt leider nur sehr wenige. Zudem kann sich die Spielfigur nur auf und ab, aber nicht zur Seite bewegen, und auch bloß waagrechte Würfe ausführen. Damit man trotzdem auch an die Steine herankommt, die sich nur von oben erreichen lassen, haben sich die Programmierer einen simplen Trick ausgedacht: Der Wurfstein kann sowohl über Ecken in der Spielfeldbegrenzung als auch durch kleine Röhren umgelenkt werden.

Wenn das Game auch schwierig zu beschreiben ist, spielen tut es sich einfach hervorragend! Technisch stimmt ebenfalls alles: Ordentliche Grafik, flotter Sound, eine optimal gelöste Steuerung, Zwei-Spieler Option und ein Level-Editor - also alles, was des Tüftlers Herz begehrt. Plotting zählt somit ganz klar zu den besonders gefährlichen Süchtigmachern! (mm)

Plotting logo


Zut Alors! 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. S'easy. The rail brain power comes in when you try to score higher points by manoeuvring 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 harbours a challenge that will always have you coming back just one more time. An essential game.

Plotting logo

Ocean, Amiga £24.99

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.

Phil King Like Warren, I initially found Plotting confusing. Even now it's still just as hard to master and ultimately very repetitive. Still, I found it fairly addictive for a while, and the two-player challenge option adds a bit of extra excitement. I'm not sure about the minimalistic graphics and ear-twisting music though. And although it's a nice little puzzle game Plotting can't justify its £25 price tag.
Warren Lapworth My first reaction to Plotting was 'Huh?', but when I'd got the gist I realised what a simple and readily playable puzzle game it is. Unfortunately, unless you tread very carefully and push your luck with the time limit, you often can't see why it's game over until it's too late; tile, step and pipe arrangements can be highly deceptive. It's for this reason that the construction kit isn't very useful. Unless you try to work it out it's easy to create levels that are impossible to complete.