The King is MAD! Long live the King! Honestly, some of the things these regal types have to put up with are just plain ridiculous. When you're King, you expect to be able to sit down to a nice Sunday lunch without any interruptions from nasty people - you know the type - peasants, serfs, journalists and the like.
King Angoulafre is just about to tuck into his roast hog with his family, when he is attacked by an evil one armed with a voodoo doll and some pins. As the pins are stuck in, the King starts jumping up and down in his seat, and laughing like a loon. Naturally his family start thinking he's gone raving starkers, and they lock him up in one of those nice robbery type rooms. But who can help?
Enter Oups, Ignatius and Asgard, a trio of goblins each of whom possesses a unique talent. They must set off into unknown lands, and search out the only things which can help their King. Using the mouse, your job is to control the goblins in their quest. The area outside the Kingdom consists of a series of 22 different landscapes, each containing various puzzles which must be solved. As various objects and nasties obstruct the solution to each level, the three must operate as a team in order to move on.
Once the game starts, you are effectively thrown in at the deep end. The first screen depicts a house with a back yard, a tree, and a large gate. The screen is dotted with small cartoon-type animals, which don't add to the plot but help make the game look pretty. At the base of the screen is a counter bar, which gives you information such as how much energy you have left, and which goblin is being controlled.
Moving around the screen manipulating objects in an attempt to solve the puzzle will initially end in disaster. Reading the instruction manual reveals a clue, but this doesn't really help and the game may now appear daunting to the average player. As with most puzzle-type games though, perseverance pays its rewards, and the knack of solving the puzzles soon becomes second nature. At the end of each screen a code is displayed which will enable entry to that level (with the same energy) should you be killed off at a later stage.
The game comes on three disks, and the loading time is fairly rapid. The graphics are very cute from the introduction onwards, with lots of nice touches which add to the feel of the game, and a good element of humour is apparent throughout - for example attempting to use violence or cast spells on various objects during the game sometimes brings hilarious results. The sound isn't too impressive, with only two spot effects and there is no music either, but as the tunes which normally accompany this sort of game are incredibly annoying, some may find this a blessing.
The generally polished presentation is marred by a few niggles - for instance if the energy runs out, and the player chooses to restart from the current position, the entire level is reloaded from disk. This doesn't take a horrendously long time, but it is unnecessary and can be extremely frustrating.
Also there are inherent problems with the control system, since the mouse pointer is used to select and control all three characters, this can be a bit fiddly when you are positioning a goblin in a particular spot. This latter point isn't really a criticism, but something to take into account when playing the game. The game might have been better if all characters could be moved around simultaneously.
Gobliiins is a cute game with some excellent features, and will certainly appeal to fans of the now legendary Lemmings genre. Some players of the game will no doubt get frustrated with one or two levels as the solution is not always immediately apparent, but hardened puzzlers will love it.