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Developer:
Team 17 Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PSP
Release Date: May 23, 2006

by Josh Ferguson




One series that seems like it has been around forever is the popular Lemmings franchise. In the past, the series has spawned multiple installments that have been released for multiple systems. The latest installment in the series was released in May of 2006 for the PlayStation Portable.


If you aren’t familiar with the series, the objective of Lemmings is to control a large group of these small critters and guide them to their destination, which is the exit of the level. Of course, this is easier said than done, with each of the levels featuring different obstacles that can either kill or stop your Lemmings right in their tracks. However, in order to save your Lemmings from certain doom, the player must use their different abilities and help them reach their destination. There are a total of eight abilities, including builder, which will cause your Lemming to create a 12-brick bridge; digger, which will cause a Lemming to begin digging down through the ground; and bombers, which are suicidal Lemmings that will blow themselves to smithereens. Sadly, though, on the downside, the game doesn’t feature any new abilities, which would have been nice to see.


As for as the game's controls, one of the new additions with the PSP version of Lemmings is the added lock-on feature. While your Lemmings are traveling around the screen, the player will be able to move the cursor around by using the D-Pad. When the cursor nears one of the Lemmings, a box will appear around that individual Lemming, indicating which of the critters you will be controlling. In order to set these skills, you must first cycle through your list of abilities with the two shoulder buttons, and then use the X button on an individual Lemming to place that skill. While the D-Pad allows you to move the cursor around the screen, the analog stick will actually move the camera view, allowing the player to get a better view at the entire level. The game also features a zoom-in option by using the triangle button, and also allows the player to speed the action up by using the circle button. Overall, the controls for the game are very easy to use and work very well.


While most of the game is very similar to previous installments, the PSP version of Lemmings does feature a few additions that weren’t present in any earlier versions. One of the biggest changes is that anytime during the game players will be able to pause the action on the screen. This should help the player with strategizing without worrying about the safety of their Lemmings, but it also gives you a little extra time to throw some of those abilities on your Lemmings. Another new addition to the PSP version of Lemmings is the added lock-on feature. As your Lemmings move around the screen and near the cursor, a box will appear around that Lemming, indicating which of the critters you would be controlling. These two added features make the game much easier and help with strategizing, but it also takes away a lot of the difficulty from the game.


Throughout Lemmings you won’t be encountering a story, and you will basically be following the same premises through each of the game's many stages. And when I say many, I mean MANY. In fact, the game features more than 150 levels, some of which were taken from the original Lemmings release, and many other completely new ones that are unique to the PSP release. If that’s not enough for you, Lemmings on PSP also features a new map editor where players are able to create their own levels. While the ability to create your own levels is a nice addition and adds a little value to the game, the problem is that it can be rather difficult to actually create a decent map. However, if you are capable of creating a good map, players will then be able to take their game online and share it with their friends.


Visually, Lemmings on the PSP is by far the best-looking installment in the series. The game's backgrounds and other areas of the levels are detailed and look great. Plus, with the zoom-in feature, the game allows the player to notice even more of the great look of the game.


As far as the sound goes, Lemmings features an overall excellent sound system. The in-game music works well with each of the levels, and the sound effects are just as good. Everything from the sound of the fast forwarding, to the squish of a Lemming smashing to the ground, to the “wee” made from a floating Lemming sounds great.


Overall, Lemmings on the PSP continues to be that fun puzzle game that we all enjoyed years ago. It might have been nice to see some new abilities and more new stages, but with some excellent sound, good graphics, and the addition of a level creator, Lemmings looks to bring an entirely new generation of fans to the series.


Final Grade: 78%


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