Title Plotting Game Type Puzzle Publisher Ocean, 1990 Players 1 or 2 Compatibility A500, All With WHDLoad Patch HD Installable Yes With Patch Submission Steve Baker Review During my Amiga playing days, I used to go through phases where I would hunt out a particular genre ahead of any others. The most enduring of these was my "puzzle game period" and with "Plotting" being released to rave reviews, it didn't take me long to decide to buy it. You take control a cute furball who for reasons that escape me now, has to work its way through lots of puzzling levels. A level comprises a group of blocks, each of which is marked with one of four symbols. Furball can throw a block at the existing pile and any blocks marked with the same symbol will disappear. Once the block hits a non-matching symbol, the original block is left in the pile and the new one is returned to Furball. Blocks can only be thrown from left to right but each level is enclosed in a wall of sorts and depending on how far this projects, the blocks will hit the wall and drop down the screen. In this way, blocks can be cleared from the left or from the top. Later in the game, pipes are included around the blocks, which will allow your block to go through them by being bounced off the "roof", but will cause the block to drop if they are hit from the left. Each level has a minimum number of blocks that must be cleared to progress, at which point you start again with a different arrangement of blocks, walls, roof and pipes. Each level has its own time limit, the exceeding of which results in your losing the level. If at any stage you find that there are no blocks available of the type currently held, you are given a special block that will take on the pattern of the first block it contacts. These special blocks are limited and can be thought of as your lives. Run out of them and the level is lost. That is all there is to it and in principal it seems very straightforward. However, I found that the game was not as satisfying as I had expected. At the time I bought "Plotting", I was already quite a seasoned puzzler with no small amount of skill. The reason I enjoyed puzzle games so much was that I found it very gratifying to work through the logic of a puzzle to arrive at the answer. My problem with this game was that I could never shake the feeling that it was as much about luck as it was about judgement and this to me, is a fatal flaw in any puzzle game. There is no doubting that the presentation was very nicely done and it was enjoyable in short bursts but it never made it on to my "most played" puzzle game list. Before finishing, I should mention that there are a couple of other features that improve the value for money factor. Firstly, there is a two-player game where both parties compete on a split screen against each other and the time limit. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to play this mode (just call me Billy-no-mates) but it does give you more variety. The other thing worth mentioning is the construction kit, which allows you to devise your own levels. While both are welcome additions, it is still based around the same game engine and concepts and as such, will fall foul of the same problems as the single player game. "Plotting" could certainly not be described as a bad game. It is a very polished product and may become better the longer you play it. For me, though, it just didn't hit the spot and although I still have the occasional blast, it is generally a short-lived flirtation as I again reach the point where the same problem rears its head. Maybe it's just me.