Devleoper: Traveling Bits
PP Hammer, first of all, great game and one of the first games I actually played on my Amiga 500. Also another interesting fact, as much as I love it, I’ve never managed to complete it (but there’s still time!)
Until I replayed PP Hammer last month the only thing I ever remembered about it was the slightly annoying music (especially after an hour of playing) and the fact you could easily get stuck at most points on any level if you weren’t quick enough with the ol’ pneumatic drill.
I think it’s the reason why I left playing it again for so long, I remember it being good, I just also remember not being that good at it. Have you ever played a game you know is good? But when you play it you realise how bad you are at it? Frustrating. Luckily this time around I’m not as terrible at the game!
The game follows PP Hammer as he digs drills and hammers his way through a selection of levels designed to confuse and frustrate the most patient of puzzle guru. Set against the clock time is precious and PP must collect all the treasure on the level to open up the door at the end to move onto the next world.
He can drill through certain blocks (easily distinguishable) using his pneumatic weapon which either helps him find hidden treasure or proceed through the level. However, some routes through the rock lead to dead ends and the rocks actually reform after a certain time has passed to block your exit, paths must be chosen wisely and quickly.
The levels are well designed and require a certain amount of thought, the timer adds pace to the game play and makes it that more challenging. The colours are very bright and each level is distinguishable by its theme, Rome (statues) Castle (banners/shields) and there are also the familiar themed levels, Egypt, and an ice level. PP himself is drawn well and the animation of him drilling and moving is fun to watch and cartoon like, right down to the cigarette break he takes when you don’t move him for a while (surely he needs a cuppa too?)
Playing the game through its clear this is a great game and strangely addictive as long as you have the patience for it. End of level codes really help with this as you can come back to it later and continue once you’ve calmed down enough not to want to throw it across the room. The music also not as irritating as I remember and the opening tune is actually quite catchy, the sounds are simple and the controls take a while to get used to, time can be wasted quite quickly by digging in the wrong place and lining yourself up again.
The game is a great combination of platformer and puzzler, not only do you have to work out your route through the level, a danger in itself, but you have the usual array of pitfalls and bad guys to stand in your way. However, collecting the different treasure types in satisfying the there is access to a bonus round by collection gems near the end of the level. PP Hammer is memorable for its challenging and addictive game play against all odds, I think this game could easily have had sequels and added to the puzzle genre in the same way as the Dizzy games.
See the links below from some Amiga magazine reviews back in the day!
Amiga Action 23 (Aug 1991) 88%
Amiga Power 3 (Jul 1991) 70%
CU Amiga (Jul 1991) 85%
A few opinions from the very awesome website Lemon Amiga!
Graham Humphrey – An interesting platform-puzzle game that constantly mixes the sublime with the ridiculous. A great idea that’s obviously been influenced by games such as Lode Runner, it is initially enjoyable and quite addictive too. However it veers too much into Rick Dangerous territory with invisible traps, teleports, walls and the like that you have no way of avoiding, causing it to become immensely frustrating. However there is a load to it, it’s got a lot of character and the controls work well. Level design-wise it’s one heck of a mixed bag and I suppose how much you enjoy it depends on how patient you are.
stooart – I think after strenuous playing I managed to finish this little fiend of a game! Had to keep playing to see the next level. Again, aurual and visuals nothing special but a cracking wee puzzler/platform. Actually put me in mind of Lode Runner. Two thumbs up.
Predseda – Very funny, cute and ORIGINAL game. 8-bit styled arcade, which I like.