Title Bob's Bad Day Game Type General Action Company The Dome/Psygnosis (1993) Players 1 Compatibility 1 Mb HD Installable Yes (With Patch) Submission RJP Review Bob's Bad Day is a simple 2D maze type game where the objective is to collect all the coins in a given level, avoid the traps and make your way to the exit within a time limit. But that's like defining a horse as a graminivorous quadruped. You see, our spherical hero Bob eschews the usual translational movements in favour of a radical method of rotating the entire screen about himself and rolling towards its lowest extremity. By varying the tilt you control Bob's direction and acceleration as he rolls along a platform, while the complete inversion of a supporting surface allows free fall and thus access to separate parts of the maze. Imagine holding one of those silver ball puzzles in the plane of your screen and you'll get the idea. This full screen rotation/scrolling effect was commonplace on the SNES, but something of a technological breakthrough for the Amiga in 1993. The graphics are fairly spartan but colourful and the whole thing moves with such violent speed that any more detail would be scarcely perceptible. (Having played a few games, this wordprocessor screen still threatens to lurch sideways at any moment.) Once you've built up some motion sickness tolerance it's not too difficult to get your bearings. The problem is anticipating the effect of inertia and modified gravity while everything's still moving. Just as with the silver ball puzzle, you only have indirect control and if you lift your hands from the joystick Bob will simply continue his existing trajectory rather than coming to an immediate halt. It is difficult to judge certain tight corners and this can be monumentally annoying when the clock is ticking down and you know exactly where you need to go. To complicate matters, most levels feature a number of unavoidable gravity-changing switches. If Newtonian mechanics isn't tricky enough, try dealing with a world where the natural tendency is roll upwards! Weight defying thrust capacity is another common power-up and is often needed to bypass a trap. The controls seem very counter-intuitive when you're using it however, since pushing right rotates everything anti-clockwise (and vice versa), which is the opposite of the Asteroids norm. Ultimately Bob steers a delicate course between challenge and irritation, and is perhaps best enjoyed during short sessions when the brilliant novelty of the gameplay is foremost in the player's mind. Bob's Bad Day is one of the very few instances of big name programmers using the extra horsepower of the A1200 to move beyond long established Amiga gaming archetypes. And that's reason enough to check it out.