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Lemmings PSP

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Team 17
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Lemmings, an introduction.

I expect most people have played a version of Lemmings at some point. Although there have been many versions of the game over the years, on a multitude of platforms, the basic goal of getting your little lemmings back home safely has never changed. On any given level your lemmings will appear, one by one, through a trap door, hit the ground and begin walking off towards any danger that awaits them. Your goal (in case you're one of the few who have never played a Lemmings game) is to prevent them coming to any harm by bestowing one of eight special abilities on them so that they can navigate their way safely to the exit point. The game (in all of its variations) has always been an addictive experience and Lemmings for the PSP is no exception.

What's the game about?

Lemmings for the PSP is a mixture of old and new. The game comes with Special and Original levels for you to enjoy. Under the Original section you'll find 120 levels from the original Lemmings. These are split into Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem levels with each category having 30 levels. There are 36 levels in the Special category that are brand new levels which have never appeared in any previous Lemmings game. The game even comes with an editor for you to create your own custom levels. These levels can be shared with your friends (via the Infrastructure mode) and you can even download extra levels from the Internet and put them into your game, which is a nice touch and potentially means you should never run out of levels to complete.

What's good about the game?

The most pleasing aspect of Lemmings on the PSP is that it successfully manages to capture the feel of the original games. The controls feel right and you don't really miss the mouse, which is quite an achievement. Cursor control is carried out via the directional pad with the analogue stick handling the scrolling of the level (as most levels are larger than the screen width of the PSP). Whilst the lemmings look quite small in the default view you can press the triangle button to zoom in and you can pause the game to issue abilities to your lemmings. Switching between the abilities on the ability panel at the bottom of the screen is as simple as tapping the L and R shoulder buttons. Pressing the circle button will speed up the action (recommended if you've already laid a path to safety and you want the remaining lemmings to make it to the exit as quickly as possible) and holding down the square button with the cursor placed on a lemming will keep the camera focus on that particular lemming. As you might expect the X button is used for selecting various lemmings, allowing you to bestow a particular ability on them.

The abilities you can give to your lemmings are climber, floater, bomber, blocker, builder, basher, digger and miner. In any given level you can only designate a fixed number of these abilities and in the easier levels many of the abilities are unavailable. As the levels increase in difficult you'll have more abilities to choose from as the obstacles, that you'll need to overcome to bring your lemmings home safely, become more problematic. Knowing what abilities to give your lemmings in a particular situation is the key to success and whilst this is initially easy it soon becomes quite difficult. That said the learning curve is quite gentle and the easy levels ease you in to game with no problems at all. Of course we should mention that the levels are time limited, which also adds to the challenge on later levels.

What's not so good about the game?

Looking at the overall package it's difficult to say what Team 17 could have done better. In fact they've done a great job in making the Lemmings feel at home on the PC and even with the lack of mouse control, the game just feels right. Of course those of a negative persuasion will probably point to the fact that you can pick up the original game for the PC for just under £5 which is a fair point but ignores the fact that you can't play the game when you're on the move (which is the whole point of a handheld system) and the fact that the game has been overhauled to work beautifully on the PSP (which looks a lot better than the old crusty PC version). A multiplayer mode might have been nice but sadly there isn't one.

How does it look?

The game was developed by Team 17 and it shows, as the game manages to have the almost cartoon appearance that the 3D Worms games had. Surprisingly it's a look that's suits Lemmings extremely well and is very easy on the eyes. If you've played Lemmings on another format you'll remember that the lemmings aren't all that big and indeed they do look small on the PSP (although they aren't too small to be fair). As we mentioned earlier though you can press the triangle button to zoom in which is useful should you find them to be too small (or if you are playing late at night and eyes begin to close on you). Load times are respectable with levels taking around 8 seconds to load,  and re-tries only taking around 1 to 2 seconds which is good to see.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

By the very nature of the game Lemmings will not cause deaf gamers any problems. All important information within the game is shown in text. Some words that your lemmings shout, such as Yippee or Glub (if they land in the drink), are shown in text too, which is really good to see. The game manual is short but nevertheless very useful in explaining the basics of not only the game itself but also the editor, which is good to see.

Final thoughts.

Team 17 have done a great job with Lemmings and it's definitely one of the more enjoyable games on the PSP. The classic formula hasn't been messed with and it's the same enjoyable and challenging experience it always has been. Of course this might not please everyone but it would have been a brave or foolish move to try and fix what wasn't broken. That said some form of multiplayer mode might have been nice but still, even without a multiplayer mode, it's still one of the more enjoyable PSP games we've seen so far.

Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Lemmings makes a fine appearance on the PSP. There's nothing innovational here and there's no multiplayer but otherwise it's a classic Lemmings experience.