One Step Beyond

Title		One Step Beyond
Game Type	Puzzle
Publisher	Ocean, 1993
Players		1
Compatibility	A500, all with WHDLoad Patch
HD Installable	Yes With Patch
Submission	Steve Baker

When I was gaming regularly on my Amiga (a few years ago now, I'm afraid),
I was never a great fan of licensed games. On obtaining a license,
software houses seemed to believe it gave an excuse to release any old
tosh and earn wads of cash. Unfortunately, on the whole they were right
but I always tried to be a little more discerning.

My first thoughts of "One Step Beyond" were not promising. Of all the
things that could be licensed, a savoury snack (Quavers, in this case) did
not immediately strike me as ideal subject matter. When combined with the
fact that it was published by Ocean (whose track record of producing
quality licenses was far from spectacular), my first impression seemed
pretty accurate. However, when this game was released, I was in the middle
of my "puzzle games period" and magazine reviews of the time, although not
outstanding were certainly not tragic. A purchase was inevitable.

"One Step Beyond" puts you in the shoes of Colin Curly, an animated dog
who comprised the marketing campaign of Quavers at the time. In a concept
"borrowed" from the movie Tron, Colin gets dragged into his computer and
it is your job to guide him out. After a pleasant introductory animation,
you are presented with the game proper.

You enter a screen by leaping out of a bag of Quavers and landing on the
attached platform and you must guide Colin to the other bag to exit the
screen. Between your start and end points are a series of platforms, each
of which you close by jumping from them. Completion of a screen is
achieved by reaching the exit platform after closing all other platforms.
You can move one or two platforms in any direction except up and it is
simply a matter of working out the correct path. There are a number of
special platforms included that can aid and abet you depending on what
stage of the level you're at. Examples of these special cases are some
that open and close at regular intervals and numbered platforms which you
have to close in the correct sequence. The classic example of a particular
type that can both help or hinder you are those platforms marked with an
arrow. On landing on these platforms, you are immediately catapulted in
the direction indicated; very helpful to get to a distant platform, but
distinctly unhelpful if you've already closed it.

You can lose a level in numerous ways of which falling off a platform or
running out of time are two of the most common. A nice touch is that
running out of time doesn't mean the level is over. You are free to
continue experimenting and are only penalised once you reach the exit.
This ability to effectively ignore the time limit allows you to spend more
time reaching the solution. Once discovered, the solution can then be
tested and in theory, should make it easier to complete at the next
attempt. I guess this is something of a double-edged sword, since it
reduces frustration (a common factor in a puzzle game being abandoned) but
limits lasting appeal.

This is an enjoyable distraction albeit for a limited time, but if you
like dabbling in the odd puzzle game, you could do worse. It is quite an
original concept and for an Ocean produced license, it is positively
unique. While not changing the world, it is good fun and when all's said
and done, that is why we play.

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