Although the graphics may now seem somewhat dated, this strategic game continues to have a certain addictive menace about it. Looking at first like a variation of the pac-man game, get round the course, dodge the nasties, it's original diamond course and diagonal movement makes it use more special awareness than pac-man. The main aim is to turn the floor pads to the colour chosen, by hopping on them a certain number of times. There are a variety of nasties, blobs, cats and snakes, which will roam around the course attempting to nobble you one way or another.
To add to this threat, it is also possible to jump of the edge lemming style. On the plus side, there are pairs of wings which will fly you back to the top of the course to evade capture, and send nasty snaky dude over the edge to his demise.
Along the way blue blobs will appear and add to the balance of your score sheet. After these come the frogs, which although they make the score a lot healthier, they also send you up the pole by turning any squares they touch back a colour, making life difficult indeed.
The frustration I felt playing this game, certainly equals any I’ve felt playing the likes of tomb raider. The sheer panic as a blob,
cat and snake are chasing after me, mixed with the determination to beat them off and clear whatever level I’m on, makes resident evil seem like a “Let’s bake cookies” special by Delia Smith. My favourite part, it has to be said, is when all these nasties are one block away from you, hemming you in nicely, when “ooops!” I’ve jumped on the wings, and it’s ta-ta to nasties.
As a parent of 3, I find myself looking for games which I feel are appropriate for them to play, whilst at the same time, fun, and something I can join in with. J-bird is exactly this. We are finally on a level playing field, from age 5 to 31. The kids themselves love the game, and have spent many an hour challenging each other. The perseverance, and desire to get that one level further, which this game delivers in abundance, is a joy to watch. The competitiveness too is nice to see, in this politically correct world where we are all ‘winners’.
Overall I say that J-bird is a great game for all ages. Simple, fun and challenging.