Katie Hammond wakes up to get ready for the day, only to be certain that she's done the same thing just moments before ... and to find an identical copy of herself outside the door... spooky ...
My first impression was that the package as a whole would present me with a rather well-polished but 'back to the norm' adventure come puzzly situation. Being the sort of person who is, how should I phrase it, an "innocent till proven guilty" theorist I just had to know more - and how wrong can the one person be? To tell you the truth, by big, and extremely obscene amounts because not only has this game got a great original touch to it, it's also frustratingly addictive, and very playable indeed.
GroundHog (a little furry ball with beaver characteristics), has been trapped in a timewarp of 48 levels and your job is to guide him to flashing doorways of freedom. Each maze like level contains a series of passages leading to doorways which carry a symbol. There's just one small problem (which I found to be quite a large one) in that in order to unlock a door a "switch-pad" has to be stood on which bears the symbol corresponding to that on the door you want to open. Considering that, from level one, there are three or more of these you need to be in two places at once. Hence, placing your beavery ball of fluff on the first switch-pad; then allowing the clock timing you to run out and create a clone which will then follow the passage as followed by your previous ball of fluff. But please don't assume that this isn't a problem - you will be mistaken!
The other sneaky factors which you have no choice but to consider are these horrible bug like drone robots. Varying numbers of them are placed around each level, meaning you either skilfully dodge them or on a far more satisfying level destroy them with a mighty punch. The thing is as GroundHog produces lots of replicas of himself, over a period of time so do the little nasties, and it does - I assure you - get extremely easy by the end of the time you're free. One more twist to think about is that of bumping into an earlier self - not only is this a frighteningly truthful view of what you really look like but it also means you're a goner!
After every six levels a bonus round appears giving you the chance to gain letters creating a cheat mode activated by pausing the game and then pressing space, which then skips levels. For those of us who like playing against somebody else, there is a two player option which allows for competitive playing across just 20 levels. Personally, I feel this adds a new dimension to the game, allowing you to share it with your friends!
Overall, GroundHog is a fascinating game which delves a lot deeper than you first realise, therefore allowing for good gameplay. Simplistic controls mean that you can get straight into the puzzling aspects early on, and that's just when the frustration settles in. Maybe something I would comment upon is the initial presentation of the package (a black and white inlay in a plastic bag) does not truly entice you to pick the game off of the shelf and buy it - let alone put the disc into your computer. That said, the appealing picture of a big-toothed beaver ... erm ... GroundHog would make the youngsters of our generation tug at Mum & Dad's sleeves for a closer look.