For a downloadable Indie PC game, Bonbon Quest, by Oliver Pearl, is pretty unusual. At first glance it appears to be a cutesy platform game about collecting sweets, but actually itâ€™s quite a tactical game about killing monsters and making carefully timed jumps. You are some kind of boy wizard and must venture thought various cartoon horror levels full of bats, rats, crows, skeletons, witches, Frankensteinâ€™s monsters, ghosts etc. â€“ itâ€™s actually quite appropriate for Halloween.
Anyway, youâ€™ll have to persevere with this game because I nearly gave after a few levels and I initially wrote this: â€œWell, uh, I’ll play it a bit later with my son, it may be more up his street. It’s a 2D platform game (I was excited by the prospect at first) but it’s set on a single screen. You can walk off the sides (and top/bottom) and you’ll warp across to the other side of the screen. The thing is, all you do is pick up sweets and jump on monsters – that’s it! There’s nothing else so it’s really boring. The graphics and sound are nice enough and the music is clearly made by the same person who did the music for Professor Fizzwizzle.â€
Then later on I played it with my boys (aged 5 and 2) and started to get into it more because of several things: I got the hang of warping off the side of the screen; the levels became much harder and more tactical; more monsters were introduced; moving platforms and water (instant death) appeared; giant pumpkins (for jumping high) and caldrons (for teleporting) were introduced. All of this stuff combined with the still simple premise of jumping on monsters heads and collecting hard to reach sweets is actually pretty addictive, a bit frustrating, but overall enjoyable like an old-school platform game.
I ended up completing the game, which has 6 graphically different chapters each with 3 levels, which in turn are split into 3 more sub-levels. So thatâ€™s a total of, uh (loading Windows Calc), 54 levels which is plenty. There are no bosses and the last level just leads straight onto a simple â€œcongratulationsâ€ screen, but thatâ€™s OK.
The funny thing is that, despite it looking like a kids game, it’s way to hard for little kids (5-6 year olds at least). The early levels just were boring and didn’t inspire me, plus I nearly quit on level two when I couldn’t figure out how to get to part of the screen via warping off the edge, but then later on the game starts to shine. My recently purchased old-style micro-switch Competition Pro came in really handy on the trickier levels. So anyway, I canâ€™t really figure out the target market because it looks like a little kidsâ€™ game but is way too hard; itâ€™s cutesy, so may appeal to the casual market until they play it and then realise that it needs fairly hardcore platform games skills; and the hardcore old-school gamers are probably buying FPS shooters, console games and pirating stuff.
Anyway, perhaps Iâ€™m wrong about this and itâ€™ll be a big success. Certainly I enjoyed it; the graphics are well made, the game is professional throughout and the sound/music is good (except for the first chapterâ€™s music â€“ yuk!). Oh, itâ€™s also got a two player mode which I didnâ€™t make use of. OK, so Iâ€™ll give it 3.5 (was going to give it 3 but maybe it deserves a bit more) and recommend that you give it a go.Â If it’s your type of game you can probably add 0.5 or 1 to the score!
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.