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Mastertronic Ltd
1988
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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37
Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Three of the words I most hate are 'simple but maddeningly addictive'. FOUR of the words I most hate are ' graphically simple but maddeningly addictive'. FIVE of the words...

Let's start again. Rollaround is one of those games where graphics ain't worth a spit, but the gameplay is so much fun that you don't care. It's a sort of cross between Painter, Marble Madness and Bobby Bearing, in that you control a sphere rolling around a number of complex networks of squares. Your aim is to collect the correct number of symbols from each level, indicated at the top of the screen.

Each of the levels includes nine screens laid out as a three by three grid. Some of the screens consist simply of right-angled pathways, where the worst thing that can happen is that you lose a life by plummeting off the edge. But on the more complex screens, where there can be up to 100 squares, aliens appear and make your life hell. Some will chase after you and turn the square beneath you into a hole, some actually leap over obstacles to get at you, and some sit guarding the squares you want to collect. There are also several types of square. Some change the nature of all the other squares on the level, some turn plain squares into holes (which can be useful for killing aliens), and some stop the clock for a limited time. (Oh yes, forgot to tell you; there's a time limit for each level, and in some cases you'll find the squares collapsing under you).

After each level there's a fruit-machine style bonus game where you hit the fire button as a series of tokens light up. You can get yourself an extra life, extra points, or a big fat zero here.

You can abort a level at the loss of a life if you get stuck, and there are decent sound effects and music to complete a neat little package.

If leaping over the fast-moving aliens, collecting squares and avoiding big holes are things you don't do well in real life, then you won't get far with Rollaround. For most of us, though, it will provide far more entertainment than anything this simple has any right to do.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Mr Chip
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Kempston
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Graphically basic but enjoyable playable combination of skill and strategy.

7/10