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Game Profile
Team17 Software
GENRE: Puzzle
May 23, 2006

 Written by Matt Swider  on August 31, 2006

Review: Like Oompa Loompas, only without a Willy Wonka to lead them.

Lemmings must be from a third world country. For the last fifteen years, these tiny little creatures have had no leader to follow, used primitive mining tools, wore blue robes and had weird green hair and always asked for help whenever their population was in danger. Instead of having to sit through a Feed the Children commercial, you've always had a hand in their survival by guiding them to safety. You point and click on places they should dig, mine, climb, build, bomb and bash so that they can avoid water, cliffs, lava and spikes. The PSP version works the same way throughout the game's 150-plus problem solving levels, 36 of which are new. Other PSP features like online play, game sharing and a level editor make this version worth owning if you're not tired of guiding the Lemmings - or if you're a natural born leader.

The 2D graphics found in all Lemmings titles have never been stunning, but they've always been functional. The same applies to its PSP debut with subtle improvements. Notably, the 3D backdrops, colorful visuals and beveled level designs look better on the system's widescreen than they ever have been before. Both the Classic and the Special (meaning ?new?) levels look sharp despite their 2D limitations. This isn't just a port of a classic; it's a classic reworked for a portable. I just wish the new music wasn't so hokey, though it doesn't hurt the overall presentation.

The new sets of levels are the most fun of the group, but the older ones are twice as challenging. This is because while the PSP-exclusive levels set you up with a couple of Lemmings, the classic stages involve almost a hundred at a time. Luckily, the controls are pretty basic, so they work well on PSP. The D-Pad moves the on-screen cursor, the right and left shoulder buttons scrolls down the list of 12 tools and the X button uses the highlighted tools. Moving the camera around is performed by using the analog stick, zooming in and out is controlled by triangle, and following a specific Lemming is executed by the square button. One nice feature is that circle allows you to fast forward so that you can speed up the level if you're confident enough or watch your Lemmings die more quickly if you're sadistic enough.

The comprehensive level editor supplies over 300 pieces pulled from Crystal, Earth, Roman, Egyptian and Hell themes in the game. Even better than building your own is downloading the work of others and enjoying a never-ending challenge thanks to the user-created Lemming levels available online. You can pay it forward by uploading your own custom levels or letting a friend sample one of the game's levels through the system's game sharing feature.

Bottom Line
Lemmings for PSP is either a game you'll love or a game you'll hate based on how tired you are of helping these poor, misfortunate creatures find their way to safety. If you're still kind-hearted enough, it's one of those perfect time-wasting titles you can pick up and play and become addicted to instantaneously. Let's just hope that these Lemmings remain a third world crisis community for another 15 years so that we can continue to rescue them in all-new ways and in all-new levels.

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