Forget Mario and Sonic, back when I was a wee lad Codemasters’ Dizzy was my seminal video game mascot. Created by the British programing duo known as The Oliver Twins, Dizzy was an anthropomorphic egg that starred in a plethora of hit games during the era when the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum reigned supreme. The Dizzy series on those home computers spanned across eight egg-cellent adventure games and a bunch of mediocre spin-offs. Despite the cartoony egg’s European popularity he failed to make an impact on the emergent console generation and finally vanished after some fleeting appearances on the NES and Megadrive. You can’t keep a good egg down though as evidenced by Codemasters’ resurrection of the franchise courtesy of Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk, available to buy on the iPad and other mobile devices.
Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk is actually a remake of a nineties release that was originally bundled within a Dizzy collection of games. The game’s story has Dizzy and his girlfriend Daisy heading out to the woods to harvest ingredients in order to whip up a cherry pie. Sounds like a dull task to me, but I guess Dizzy is obligated to help the missus with her cooking. Perhaps if he is nice she will pop his cherry and let him taste her pie (hurr hurr.) Unfortunately for our hard-boiled protagonist, he is cock blocked by the nefarious Rockwart the troll who tosses our hero into a subterranean cell. Dizzy must now escape the dungeon and rescue Daisy who is slumbering in a nearby castle after pricking her finger on an enchanted spinning wheel.
If I had to describe the Dizzy games to a modern audience I would liken them to Lucasarts adventures. Despite sporting a pair of boxing gloves Dizzy doesn’t engage in fisticuffs, preferring instead to overcome danger with his smarts (he is an egghead after all.) To triumph players are expected to interact with various characters and use the items they collect to solve puzzles. The major difference between a Dizzy game and a Lucasarts title is the way you control your character. Rather than pointing and clicking to get by, Dizzy uses his summersaulting skills to vault over platforms. A talking egg that wears boxing gloves and performs acrobatics? I wonder what the Oliver Twins were inhaling when they came up with that idea.
For the most part this remake is identical to the original game aside from sporting new HD graphics. One significant change this version boasts however is the addition of infinite lives. My how I would have loved that feature in Treasure Island Dizzy, which only gave you one chance to complete the game. I have no idea how my younger self had the patience to restart from scratch whenever Dizzy would run into a deadly crab and die instantly. My how I hate crabs… they are so itchy. Sadly this edition of Yolkfolk retains the original’s three item inventory size, which sometimes forces you to ferry objects back and forth between locations. They could have eliminated this frustration by letting players carry as much stuff as they like. If Guybrush Threepwood has bottomless pockets why can’t Dizzy?
Another neat addition to this HD remake is the inclusion of a high score system. During his travels Dizzy can collect stars that award you points. Every second that elapses costs you a point, so in order to register a respectable score players will need to complete the game in the quickest possible time. Should you get stumped on a puzzle, resulting in your score hitting zero, you’ll be presented with a hint, which is nice as it alleviates the hassle of scouring the net for a solution to an antiquated game. For the record I didn’t require any assistance to finish the game, as I managed to recall how to solve the puzzles myself. That’s rather surprising given that I sometimes forget my own age.
My rating for Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk is a three out of five. Replaying the game after all these years was an enjoyable nostalgic experience, but my fun was hampered by the controls. Instead of using a virtual joystick, players need to press arrows situated on the screen border to make Dizzy move, which is a little awkward. Dizzy’s walking speed is also infuriatingly slow. Mercifully Dizzy accelerates with each passing step, although I don’t understand why they didn’t just make his default stride a bit more brisk. I hope this release signals a Dizzy resurgence, as I think the character could be popular on mobile platforms. If anything I am a little disappointed that Codemasters opted to remake this particular game, as it is the shortest in the Dizzy library. The £1.49 asking price entitles you to a download that can be bested within an hour… roughly the time it would take to boil six eggs.