Bzzzzzz! It's the life, being a bug. Unless you're a computer bug. But THIS bug is the insect kind, and it likes to live around mazes of bushes and green grass. The thing is, there are some kinda nasty other bugs who want to eat it. Hmm… that makes things kind of awkward in the neighbourhood. How can we help this situation? It's simple! Just help the bug avoid the predators and survive a series of labyrinthine stages, gobbling up all the food, and then claim victory!
'A Bugs Lynx' is a cute, creative little arcade ROM that can be downloaded for free from the Atari Gamer website (from the game information link). It is a demo, and the current iteration is the eJagfest 2018 edition; so that is the subject of this review. Imagine 'Pac-man' but you control a butterfly-like insect. Got it? Also, chuck in a few 'Bomberman'-like elements (scenery you can interact with) for good measure. Whilst you dash around a series of increasingly complex stages, there will be moveable walls and even shrubbery to hide in! So, THAT changes the action just a bit!
The game itself has simple, but functional graphics. They are certainly more complex than, say, 'Ms Pacman', but perhaps not as detailed as 'On Duty' or 'Gauntlet'. If you have picked up on the references here, you will guess that 'A Bugs Lynx' is a top-down setting, which is ideal for this kind of game. The enemies are easy to see, the hedges that form the walls are easy to guide yourself by, and the items you gobble are clear in view. There are two main panels that form the background of your in-game screen; the main action, and a score panel, which also displays the level and your remaining lives. Neat!
One unfortunate aspect of the game is that there is no sound or music. And that's a real pity, because it's one of the few aspects that knock the score down in this review. This game would have absolutely ROCKED a relaxed soundtrack, and some retro sound effects akin to the kind seen on 'Weltenschlachter' or 'Jungle Jack'. If that was ever added and the game got a physical release, it would be a seriously sweet addition. Still, the in-game action is one factor that kind of distracts from the missing audio; you'll be drawn in pretty quickly once you see how the game works.
The controls are thankfully pretty good. There were one or two occasions where I didn't gobble some food on my way, but most of the time there were few issues. Just like 'Ms Pacman' on the Lynx, you need your wits about you in this game. The opposing bugs move thick and fast, and have a fair idea of your proximity. They will chase you! But as afore mentioned, you are able to complete actions like hide in bushes, which makes you temporarily invulnerable and invisible to the other bugs. Then it's just about emerging at the right time: not as easy as it sounds! Oh, and did I mention spider webs? SPIDER WEBS! They'll slow you down, and make things even trickier.
I really enjoyed the playability of 'A Bug's Lynx', especially when little surprising things happened. For example, discovering a new useable object in a level was always a joy, such as the rotating wall that blocks other insects from attacking you: Ha! And the little encouraging hints and tips between levels. These are excellent little guides to make your play even better. And it'll need to get better, as 'A Bug's Lynx' is really tough. Even the first level will challenge you, should you even get through it. Keep practicing! I should also mention that one of the Lynx buttons also allows you to level skip, just in case you want to pick up from where you last met your demise (or if you just want to see what comes next!). It's a nice touch that is well established.
All in all, I would definitely recommend 'A Bug's Lynx' join your Lynx SD card collection to become a fun little arcade fave. It's actually a really clever little game, and the added factor of scenery manipulation in the game is the kind of thing that adds an extra complexity to the simple, 'Pac-man'-like action. Yes, the music and sound are not there, but the style and challenge of the game make up for this lost ground in many ways. If you're a 'Pac-man' fan, this is a must try; and for everyone else, chuck it onto your Lynx and see if you can get further than everyone else. I can recommend certainly 'A Bug's Lynx' a buzz for some "a-maze-ing" action fun today. You'll be glad you did!Score Card
This review was submitted by Jon Mc from JMac Productions