Popular games never die. Classics such as pinball, Arkanoid and even Mario Bros. often appear years after their creation, either in officially licensed new versions or more often in reworked, third-party titles. These new editions generally feature the original thrill and gameplay of the original, but with better graphics, sound and features – elements which the original developers could not have dreamt of.
Cavemen is just such a game. Based on the magnificent ‘Lemmings’, the game puts you in control of a tribe of hapless critters whom you must guide to safety by giving them a variety of handy roles. Cavemen picks up the gauntlet thrown down by Lemmings and does a good job of convincing you that there’s life in the old dog yet.
The graphics in Lemmings were always pretty basic, given that they only ever consisted of a scrolling, cavernous world with a variety of platforms and obstacles through which you had to guide your charges. Cavemen takes the action outside into a range of attractive settings, with grassy banks, cool streams and bendy trees. The characters themselves are cute, and certainly look more like cavemen than you might have expected from the original game. Their movement can seem a little clunky but this is likely due to the capabilities of our test device rather than the game’s quality!
Cavemen introduces a range of jobs which you can give to your characters to guide them around their dangerous world. While the standard roles of blocker and digger are carried across from Lemmings, Cavemen manages to innovate new characters such as ‘thrower’ (who throws following cavemen over a gap in the earth), ‘strongman’ (who bends trees over rivers to allow his buddies to cross) and more. We were impressed with these new variations, particularly as many other Lemmings remakes have failed to change much in that aspect of the game.
Each mission in the 10 level demo features soft ambient music which never becomes annoying. The sound effects in the game are – as might be expected – similar to the original game but lack some of its cuteness. We were pleased to see, however, that the game didn’t override our Pocket PC’s volume muting control, something which other games have done in the past. The demo levels were satisfyingly challenging and certainly left us hungry for more.
Small issues with characters’ movement and sound effects aside, Cavemen has successfully achieved what many games set out to do: reinterpret a classic. Its enhanced gameplay, cute graphics and gentle soundtrack make it a very 2006 version of the classic original.