Developer - Team17
Publisher - SCEA
Memory Stick Duo – 290KB
Wi-Fi Compatible (Ad Hoc)
Wi-Fi Compatible (Infrastructure)
I can’t even remember the first time I played Lemmings as it seems that long ago. But what I do remember is getting somewhat addicted in my quest to take those little critters from point A to point B and get to the next level. I haven’t seen a new Lemmings title in quite awhile but that is about to change as the newest version available has been released for the Sony PSP, and although it has better visuals then its predecessors, there are some issues that stop this title from being great.
As I just mentioned Lemmings on the PSP definitely has some graphical upgrades this time around. Although one would not expect this game to have to look good, as it is a puzzle game, truth be told is looks pretty sharp. Developer Team17 has brought Lemmings’ visuals into the 21st Century on Sony’s handheld while still maintaining the series classic look. Using the beautiful 16x9 LCD screen, Lemmings is still played on a 2D field, however each of the 150 or so stages have been reworked and rendered with 3D polygons. Along with the polygonal upgrade it seems like the colors are much richer and the game moves better then previous versions. I attribute this to a few things, such as the better color palette of the PSP then on past platforms, Team17 has added new animations to this latest version of Lemmings, and the LCD screen of the PSP is of such good quality that the majority of the games just look that good on it, Lemmings included. As I played I was never hit with any graphical issues either, so it is safe to say that the time and work spent on upgrading what is seen on screen was well spent and not some afterthought as the graphics engine is solid and the polygonal improvements didn’t cause any problems. I would have to say that overall I was pleasantly surprised with the looks of this title.
Unlike the upgrade in the graphics, the sound in Lemmings was not a major focus. The UMD format has the ability to store a lot of information on it, and in digital quality too, however it seems that Lemmings didn’t get the full sound treatment here. If there is anyway that I can describe the music, it would be your usual puzzle fair, nothing extremely special. I would have like to have seen a musical upgrade to something that could have matched the great Lumines game. Using the UMD’s storage capability could have allowed for some great music but it just doesn’t seem like this was a major focus. As for the rest of the sound effects, they definitely seem to fit the style of a game where you try to help cute little green haired creatures get from one point to another, just don’t expect yourself to be wowed by what is there.
Lemmings has been around long enough on one platform or another that most gamers already know what to expect. However, as this game has been around for a relatively long time there are younger gamers that may have not experienced versions prior to this latest one on the PSP, so a quick recap of what the game is about is in order. The main goal is get the lemmings from the starting point of the level to the exit while traversing various obstacles and pitfalls. You basically assign and get specific lemming to perform various tasks, such as digging in the ground or bashing through walls to get to new sections or laying down new paths to overcome obstacles. You must be able to do so in a quick enough manner to allow the required number of lemming to reach the exit. Lemmings has a little bit of strategy and timing involved in it as you need to implement the right lemming and right skills all at the right time in order to get to the final goal.
Lemmings has a gradual learning curve to the skill needed to get deeper into the game’s 150 or so levels. As you start off the game will allow you to make the odd mistake or two, but as you get into the later levels it becomes less forgiving and does not allow for any mistakes at all. I found that this learning curve was pretty well balanced and that you had to learn and eventually master the game to move to the levels further on in. For those worried that they will have to invest a lot of time in each level prior to stopping, each level lasts for about a few minutes. This is kind of nice as those looking for a quick fix will be happy to know Lemmings meets this need as it really seems tailored for people on the go who like to game on portable handheld systems.
In terms of longevity, I plugged away through countless levels of saving these green haired creatures. Now I have to be honest and say that I got through a lot of the levels, but not all. I didn’t do it in one sitting either so there is some value to the length of this game. As well, to add to the already 150 or so levels in this game, Team17 added a level editor that offers a lot in terms of customizing your own levels and such. You can upload these levels online or share them via the ad hoc mode. This in itself adds to the replay value as there are an infinite number of levels as users are free to be as creative as possible in their efforts to make new and different levels then those already found in the game. Although there seems to be some good longevity in this latest version of Lemmings something I found to be lacking in the PSP version of this game is a noticeable absence of any multiplayer modes. This glaring omission really takes away from further replayablity as puzzle games scream for some sort of person versus person mode. I cannot understand why there was no multiplayer mode as the PSP is capable of different modes of wireless play.
I had a real good time with Team17’s version of this long running series. It was great to know that I could take my copy of Lemmings in the car and play a level or two no matter where I went. With improved visuals the game has been somewhat brought into the 21st century; however the lack of a multiplayer mode is somewhat disconcerting in this day and age of wireless capabilities. Regardless if you have played any versions of Lemmings in the past not a whole lot has changed and it is still an enjoyable game. Those new to this game really owe it to themselves to try it on their PSP as they won’t be disappointed.