Zamby and the Mystical Crystals
Zamby and the Mystical Crystals is a top-down puzzle adventure game with a lot of retro charm. Similar to the Wonderland Adventures series and Professor Fizzwizzle in concept, its simple visuals hide a box-pushing puzzle game with a surprising amount of challenge and content. It also takes itself serious as a casual game, offering a full, move-by-move undo option along with hints and full solutions for every level. It's old-school gaming without the old-school headaches!
Zamby is on a quest. A quest for mystical crystals, in case you were wondering. In order to nab them all, he'll have to work his way through 150 levels packed with traps, obstacles, enemies, and puzzles. Using either the mouse or [arrow] keys to move, learning your way around each level is a simple matter. Best of all, there are no mistakes in Zamby, as even if you make a wrong move and think you're stuck, a simple tap of the [U] key will undo your last move, allowing you to fix whatever blunder you created. Undo is unlimited, so rewind as long as you like!
Working your way across the world map, you'll visit a number of locations, each with different environmental hazards and obstacles to deal with. Pushing crates will be your main activity, maneuvering them to block dangerous enemies, create bridges across water, or just getting them out of the way so you can walk. However, add something like ice to the mix, and pushing a crate can slide it across the screen, forcing you to rethink how you handle the situation.
In addition to the main set of levels, you'll also find easy, kid-centric puzzles available from the main menu, perfect for the little tyke who wants to give Zamby a hand. Secret levels are also unlocked as you play, offering a little extra challenge when you're in the mood.
Analysis: Gameplay in Zamby and the Mystical Crystals isn't anything radically new to the casual gaming world. We've all pushed boxes, we've all gathered crystals, and we've all dealt with wizards and bombs before. The game is put together so pleasantly well, however, the experience is nothing but pure, uninterrupted fun.
Where Zamby really shines is its solution and undo systems. While they may seem like a lazy gamer's way out of solving puzzles, what they really accomplish is something much more profound. Have you ever played a game, gotten frustrated, then quit? Ever been angry at a seemingly impossible puzzle? Made a stupid mistake and had to restart an entire level? We've all experienced that a time or two, but the good news is Zamby and the Mystical Crystals is free from all of that. I was never irritated at the game, not once, and that pleasant feeling is something we all look for in the casual games we play.
Zamby's puzzles are challenging, of course, but when things get a bit too rough, just started the in-game solution video, wait for it to catch up to your current predicament, then continue from there. It's such a liberating feeling to be able to make a mistake and immediately undo it. Zamby is nothing but progress and puzzle solving, there's never a setback, and the game is as easy or as challenging as you like.
Rounding out its full complement of levels, Zamby includes an easy-to-use level editor that's a blast to play around with. There are even a few map packs you can download that contain bonus levels!
Simple, challenging, and completely free from frustrating gameplay setbacks, Zamby and the Mystical Crystals is exactly what a casual game should be!