Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dotty & Letty

Title: Dotty & Letty
Author: Jussi Ernsten
License: Freeware

Caiman Free Games is one of the best gaming freeware sites; dare I say the best. The new games list at Caiman is a regular visit for me. That is were I first saw Dotty & Letty. It has since appeared in all the usual places. Dotty & Letty is a fun but flawed puzzle game which can be completed in an hour or two.

The object of each level is to remove all of the blocks from the board. Using the two ladybug looking characters, named Dotty and Letty, you push blocks around. When three or more blocks of the same color form a rook-wise connected group, they disappear. There are rules about which blocks can be pushed. The blocks with an X in them cannot be pushed. Blocks with a single slash in them can only push one at a time, sokoban style. Blocks with neither an X nor a slash can be pushed in groups.

A nice twist is the joker block. This multicolored block can be any color in forming a group. You have to be a little careful when pushing it around as you might accidentally form a group of another color in passing. One great feature of Dotty & Letty is an undo button (backspace) . This saves many a restart when such bonehead moves are made. One logical flaw in the game is when when a joker is pushed into a spot which simultaneously forms two groups of different colors, only one color disappears, and you cannot control which one.

You do control both Dotty and Letty, hit enter to toggle control. The interesting levels require that you coordinate their movement and placement. There are 25 levels in all which must be completed in order. The levels are not difficult, and the level design is on the whole uninspired. I would say about 5 of them, such as level 24 pictured above, are interesting. These five or so levels show that a great game with the Dotty & Letty rules and mechanics is possible. It is worth working through the dull ones to play the fun ones. A level editor would have been nice.

There are also diamonds to collect and a scoring system based on how many diamonds were collected and how few moves were made. The collecting of diamonds is optional, and the scoring system is silly because there are no par scores to shot for. Worse, the game does not record your best score on each level. So, I suggest you disregard the diamonds and scoring and just complete the levels.

Another problem with the game is that it occationally spikes the cpu and freezes for a second or two. Flaws aside, Dotty & Letty is fun, easy, and free.


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