Dibbles: For the Greater Good
For the Greater Good! By which I mean my good. For I am Greater; greater than you, my fellow (though inferior) bipedal arthropods. You can tell because I'm the one sporting the jeweled crown and the purple-and-ermine cloak. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to find ermine in my size? Clearly the one who can wrangle such sartorial finery is the one who must survive the trek from one perilously located toadstool hut to the other, even if that means that all of you lesser creatures must smash, break, and contort yourselves to provide the means for my safe arrival. I recommend you play Dibbles: For the Greater Good, a puzzle arcade game from The Podge Studios, to accustom yourselves to the idea of your noble sacrifice on my behalf.
Anyone who has ever played the classic PC game Lemmings will recognize the gameplay in Dibbles. In each level, a troop of marching ant-like critters (who I suppose are the eponymous Dibbles) must be ferried to the exit point with as little loss of life as possible, taking special care to spare the life of the chief monarch Dibble, who always enters the game last. To do this, select one of a limited number of commands available each level. This will tell one Dibble to perform one of several tasks; to turn into a bridge, springboard, or bungee chord, or to dig through terrain or block the path of other Dibbles. This sacrifices the Dibble in question, but allows for the survival of others. So far this is almost exactly like Lemmings, but there is one difference: While you issue commands to Lemmings by clicking on them, you order Dibbles about by placing the command where it should be executed on the screen. When any Dibble comes across a command marker, they carry out the command. To me this is a great improvement over the standard Lemmings formula, as my frustration was always with the unnecessary difficulty in clicking on the fast-moving Lemmings at the proper time. The Dibbles method seems so obviously better that I'm surprised it wasn't used originally.
The presentation in Dibbles is merely fair. Music and sound effects are rote, though they are easily muted. The artwork is cute and whimsical, but it's also a little crude. That said, I did enjoy the animation, particularly the various twisted ways your Dibbles off themselves as they carry out your orders. For most levels, the difficulty is mild, though there are a few challenges; and you can fast-forward through levels once you have all your command markers set, making each level pretty quick. The fun in Dibbles is in breezing through the levels and seeing what other gruesome tasks you can set your Dibbles to executing. All For The Greater Good, of course.