Lock'em Up is one of those titles where the screenshots simply do not
realistically portray the nature of the title. A cursory glance at the
screenshots will suggest this title may be a static puzzle teaser. In
actuality, the characters in the game are mobile and move so fast that
your Palm's PDA screen will have trouble keeping up. Lock'em Up is a
cute and attractive puzzle game where the goal of the game is to direct
certain constantly moving pieces into one of several appropriate exits.
For example, the moving triangle piece will want to be directed to the
triangular exit point. Each piece will travel at different speeds but
will travel in constant motion until it hits a barrier, whether that be
an inert block or one of the arrows you can manipulate. Say you want
your piece to move upwards, you will put your stylus on the arrow and
drag slightly upwards. Thus, the arrows are rather like railway or
traffic lights for the individual pieces.
Ludigames has provided a rather humorous backdrop to the game. The
various pieces, square, circle, triangle and cross are actually
characters. They are, according to the literature, friends, but for some
reason cannot touch each other (what strange friends, the literature
then exclaims). They are lost in a labyrinth of exactly 35 basements
and of course, begin in the last basement so they have 34 more to go.
Obviously, one does not pick this game up for its involving plot but I
thought it was a nice comical touch. Unfortunately, the accompanying
documentation isn't too clear, like the screenshots, on what the actual
gameplay is like. The number of basements reflects the number of levels
as a whole. The first five levels are actually devoted to teaching you
how to play the game. It has a gentle learning curve and I'm sure most
people will be able to pick it up easily. The first set, aptly named
training levels, help you identify certain patterns or tricks you might
need to know. From then on, the developers provide thirty fun-filled
levels but none of them are too frustrating to complete. Many puzzle
teasers require you to pay attention to inhumane detail. The concept
behind Lock'em Up manages to avoid that tedium.
Lock'em Up is presented in a rather bland grid-style format. Indeed, it
loses some of its lustre in the monochrome version. With colour, things
get vibrant and attractive. Colour, it seems, is becoming increasingly
pragmatic on the Palm platform. It is now used for more than merely
dressing up the visuals. Like most Palm titles though, Lock'em Up
features pretty bland audio effects.
Lock'em Up won't weigh you down too much either financially or
space-wise on your PDA. Those with dated black and white PDAs will be
happy to know that the monochrome version is slightly smaller than the
colour one. Both titles are a little less than half a megabyte, a bit
hefty considering the graphical content is not overly sophisticated. Another gripe I had with
the game was replay value. Obviously, those who are keen on these types
of games might get through the 35 levels pretty quick. In fact, Lock'em
Up will help you facilitate that because it is quite an addictive game.
If there were a way to add more levels, that would have enhanced the
longevity of this title. Instead, you are given the chance to replay
past stages and try to break previous time records. A level editor
might have been nice too, whether on the PC or in-game itself. Finally,
the best feature would have been an automatic level generator. As it
stands now, Lock'em Up might clamp up a little prematurely for the more
rabid players out there.
[08/10] Program Size
[12/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer