Lockdown Town

Covid-19, eh? Remember that? Wearing a mask, working from home, buying too much toilet paper and trying to find a hand sanitizer that doesn't stink. Not a great time, even if you were fortunate enough to avoid serious illness / loss. And then there ware all the wingnuts and conspiracy theorists arguing back and forth on that there internet about whether it was all the fault of Bill Gates or the Communists or MJ-12 or Arsene Wenger. How tiresome! Still, we could all agree that the doctors and nurses and paramedics did a great job under terrible pressure. Have a round of applause, folks. ( But no payrise, don't dare ask for that. )

Now that it's All In The Past ( no questions, please ) we can start having games about it. Finally! Lockdown Town frames you as a dedicated ambulance driver, racing around town to pick up and deliver poorly patients who need treatment. The town is presented from overhead, like a pacman maze, although the big , chunky sprites mean that the maze is necessarily much simpler. No dots to collect either, just chubby patients who sit helpfully in the middle of the road - you need to pick them up one at a time and bring them to the Swiss embassy for some reason. Easy!

But! Your mission of mercy is blocked by Covidiots, represented by bright green viruses that move around the map leaving a particle trail of disease in their wake. Collide with them and you'll lose a life. Lose all your lives and you're out! 

First impressions are always important, and this certainly does well on that front. A colourful loading screen, jaunty theme tune, and bright clear sprites in gameplay make the whole affair very inviting. You may want to turn the sound down in game though - there's a constant engine nose that's rather jarring.

In terms of gameplay, there's not much here that you won't have seen before. You need to keep an eye on the unpredictable Covidiots' movements while navigating your route back to the hospital, with particular attention to the wrap-around warping, which will flip you or the baddies from top to bottom or left to right instantaneously. This reinforces the sense that the levels are small and thus crowded - you're never more than a couple of turns from disaster, especially when you've got 2 viruses and unstoppable trains to navigate. It's not easy, that's for sure. Happily, the controls are on your side, with pre-turning working fine - if you're approaching a junction you can hold the direction you want to turn before you arrive, meaning that you shouldn't have any issues with getting stuck because your timing was one pixel off. It's tough, but fair enough to encourage retries.  All in all, the game is well put together, but while there's nothing very wrong here, it's not doing anything very exciting either. 

The download also comes with themed Christmas and Hallowe'en variants as stand-alone games, essentially reskins of the original with a few new maps and other tweaks, notably darkened sections of the map where patients, Covidiots and your own ambulance are invisible. These are nicely charming additions to a package that maybe isn't going to set the world alight, but which is hard to dislike. 

The download is available at https://puttycad.itch.io/lockdown-town-zx for a minimum price of £1.99

Add comment