Stop the evil Amethyst King, drunk with power, and rescue the kobolds under his spell by...kissing them.
Storm his castle! Negotiate devious mazes and treacherous puzzles to smooch every last kobold before meeting your foe in an epic confrontation! All in a retro ZZT game that most games of the era it tries to emulate would kill to be.
Bluey had been teasing making a retro-styled game (see:Town of ZZT Remix, Castle of ZZT, David:Beast Wrestler) with only the ZZT editor (so no STK), and boy, he delivers. Not only has he nailed the retro aesthetic perfectly but also out-retroed other retro ZZT games by writing it on a Windows 3.11 Pentium-powered PC! You couldn't get more retro unless you swapped out his machine for an 80286 PC with a monochrome monitor running ZZT 2.0 on DOS.
The game offers you all the types of gameplay seen in the official ZZT worlds released by Epic and does them very well and original fashion! You test your reflexes and wits on action, puzzle and maze boards that are well designed and do offer a good challenge without frustration. Like a lot of early ZZT worlds, he also provides a simple engine board as seen in the City of ZZT, but with a puzzle-solving twist! And of course, all of this while being a god damn hero and doing the right thing by smooching kobolds. Don't forget to take your time to enjoy the writing too!
Would it have been a hit if it had been released in the pre-zzt.org/chocobo.org days? I don't know. I suspect the 'smooching' part of things would have blinded the He-Man women haters among ZZTers to its excellent design and sheer fun. It's likely it may have resurfaced as a special edition or a Classic Game of the Month in the zzt.org era, or reappraised by the Museum.
I highly recommend this game. It's a few boards of delight and you get to meet Bluey himself if you know where to look.
Reviewed: Feb 5, 2023
Rating: out of 5.0 This user has opted out of providing a numeric rating