Blockhead 2 logo

Ben Vost gets into a jam with this fruity puzzler.

Although we’re light on games this month, it’s good to have a cheapie title like Blockhead 2 to play with. It’s simple, doesn’t take up much room on your hard drive, you can run it from the floppy it comes on and it’s great for a quick play.

The idea is basically Boulderdash meets, hmm, the bit in Tomb Raider where you have to drag blocks around, with the overhead perspective of Valhalla or Final Odyssey.

What you have to do is put some green berries (they look like apples to me) into your cauldron and, once you’ve put enough in, move the cauldron to the exit. However, there’s a catch. There are no monsters at all, but there is a strict time limit which makes it somewhat harder, and there are walls to navigate. Also, you can’t stud the screen when paused because, curses, the authors have blanked the screen when pausing.

The learning curve for the game is nicely paced, with new levels introducing new perils and harder puzzles, some of which seem really impossible to begin with but become obvious with repeated attempts. You’ll tear your hair out as you try to work out how you can possibly complete a level with too little dynamite, or with too many "red eye" tiles to cross to stay alive.

There isn’t very much to say about this game really. Although you could spend an age waiting for it to give you a password, don’t do that – just keep a careful note of the names of the levels (hint, hint).

You'll tear your hair out as you try to work out how you can possibly complete a level with too little dynamite...

Also, on the cover of the box the game has "100 frustrating levels!" as its subtitle, but the instructions for the game state that there are 40. It doesn’t matter much since in the time I’ve played it I haven’t got to the end yet, or indeed anywhere near it.

One last thing about its system friendliness. Although the game can be played from its self-booting disk and you can also play it from your hard drive, it doesn’t have an icon for the game itself, which is a bit poor.

While you can’t multitask while playing the game, it does quit back to Workbench nicely at any time, so you can always leap out and back in again since, as you’d expect from a game that only takes one disk it doesn’t take long to load.

Right. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try to complete that tricky level again...

Blockhead 2 logo

Take exploding teddy bears, evil eyes, dangerous mushrooms and mix them up in a big pot and you've got another brain-exercising puzzle game.

The sequel to Blockhead (reviewed in AF97, with a rating of 77 per cent) had done away with the concept of putting blocks in the appropriately coloured exit. Instead, your little chappy, Bertie, is required to gatehr ingredients to put in his magic pot. Calling the game Pot Head ight have caused unnecessary hassle, so we’ve got Blockhead 2, and it’s turned out to be a very appealing little game.

The basic idea is presented in a brief tutorial, where you learn that you can push and pull your cauldron by walking up to it, holding down the fire button to grab it and then moving Bertie about. You can pick up your ingredients and put them in the pot, or move the pot over the ingredients. When you’ve collected the required ingredients you push the cauldron into the exit. Nice and simple.

As usual with this type of game, everything is against the clock, which is represented by a hand lowering a bomb onto Billy the Bear. If Billy Bear blows, Bertie’s bamboozled.

As with the original, Blockhead 2 is well paced and each level introduces a new game element. Before long you’ll be finding axes to break down doors, dynamite to blow things up with, magic teleporting potions and so on. Those are the useful things, the further you get in the game, the more obstacles and traps re presented. There are tiles with red eyes on them that deplete Bertie’s energy tiles that you can’t drag the pot over, and traps that kill Bertie instantly if he steps on them.

Before long you'll be finding axes to break down doors, dynamite to blow thinsg up with, magic teleporting potions and so on

At the beginning of the game you only need to put harmless green berries in the pot, but later on you get mushrooms that deplete energy while you hold them. Time depleting magic dust and deadly skulls are later ingredients.

As you can imagine, a combination of all of these elements can make for a level that you really have to think about to complete. To make things worse, if you pause the game you’re presented with a blank screen, so you can’t ponder your moves with the clock stopped.

Thankfully, there’s a code for each level, so you don’t have to keep going back to the start. While the graphics are nothing special, they’re colourful, clear and cute, and the music is cutesy but ultimately irritating.

What all this adds up to is a game that keeps you on your toes, at the same time as exercising the brain. Like all good puzzle games, if you get stuck o a level you can spend ages trying out different ideas and not getting anywhere, when all of a sudden a seemingly obvious solution presents itself.

The fact that each new level contains a new tool or obstacle makes it easy to get that ‘just one more level’ syndrome and before you know it, you’re hooked.