Spindizzy Worlds FI

SNES A Day 164: Spindizzy Worlds


Approximate Release Month: March 1993
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: ASCII Entertainment
Publisher: ASCII Entertainment

The Amiga roots of Spindizzy Worlds are instantly clear from the title screen.

Unlike most other computer ports, Spindizzy World doesn’t have an interface that tries to mimic a mouse cursor. Part of that might be because it’s a simple puzzle game that doesn’t need any fancy precision, but if it weren’t from the computery presentation I wouldn’t have had a clue it wasn’t a native console game.

In Spindizzy Worlds, you control a top (which Wikipedia helpfully names GERALD) from an isometric perspective through mazes and puzzles, collecting fuel gems and hopefully finding the exit. The most striking thing is how well the game pulls off the fake 3D. There’s a fantastic illusion of depth here that looks really impressive and smooth in motion. You can use the shoulder buttons to rotate the view around your top, but it takes so long to transition that I found myself only using it when necessary.

The graphics are the only things that stand out here. The controls aren’t precise enough for some of the level design. For example, I consistently have a hard time actually getting my top through narrow doorways and paths, which shouldn’t be a challenge. Part of this is because the isometric perspective doesn’t jive with the cardinally aligned D-pad on the Super Nintendo’s controller. These problems aren’t unique to Spindizzy Worlds, as Ka-Blooey and Paperboy 2 had to deal with the same shortcomings, but the floatiness of the player-controlled top exacerbates the issue and only gets worse as the stages become more complicated and less forgiving.

That’s my worry, though. Once I finished the tutorial, I hopped to a bunch of different beginner and advanced stages to get an idea of how the game will evolve past the basics. I didn’t see any new puzzles. I just saw the stages in Spindizzy Worlds get more difficult in terms of navigation, which isn’t what I want to see in a puzzle game. The puzzles were still pressing colored buttons to make colored platforms move or colored blocks to disappear, just with more pits and roving monsters to avoid.

I don’t know what I want to see Spindizzy Worlds become after the tutorial, but more of the exact same wasn’t it.

Tomorrow: If you like hexes and turn-based strategy, be sure to come back tomorrow for some Super Conflict.

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