Friday 4 December 2015

Gyromite (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D#1
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1985

Gyromite is an action-puzzler that can be played either with two controllers (1-2 players) or with R.O.B. the Robot.

You control Prof. Hector and Game A tasks you with collecting dynamite scattered around the 40 levels while raising / lowering gates. Green bugs try to stop you but they can be distracted by picking up turnips and placing them in their path. Playing the game with R.O.B. is entertaining for a few minutes but the novelty factor quickly wears off. The main reason is that his movements are very slow which usually leaves you in harms way. Using a second controller is much more fun as you can make quick manoeuvres that include crushing enemies by activating gates at the right time! The level design is fantastic and starts off simple with modest layouts before eventually becoming more elaborate. The puzzles are cool too such as when you need to put yourself in harms way by raising a gate you're standing on and then quickly grabbing a nearby stick of dynamite before you get squashed! It's highly enjoyable working out the best route through each level but unfortunately the screen doesn't always scroll far enough ahead which causes you to take unnecessary risks. Game B has 25 levels and you need to control the gates to help navigate a sleepwalking Prof. Hector to the exit. It's incredibly slow-paced to account for R.O.B. which makes the gameplay extremely boring with little action and very little input on the player's behalf. Unlike the first mode you don't see a preview of the level beforehand and the screen doesn't scroll far enough making for some cheap deaths due to taking the wrong route. There's only a small selection of music tracks in the game but they all fit the action perfectly.

Gyromite is a great action-puzzler with brilliant level design and a catchy soundtrack. Do yourself a massive favour though and play the game with two controllers yourself or with a friend as the action is simply too 'twitch-based' to rely on the slow moving R.O.B.

Random trivia: The only other game to support R.O.B the Robot is Stack-Up (1985).

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