Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Obscurity: Nobody has ever heard of Lemmings

7:30 PM on 10.04.2011 // knutaf

[For your Bloggers Wanted assignment last week, you were asked to write about a game you thought was relatively obscure; one that a lot of your peers likely hadn't played or even heard of. In today's blog, Knutaf describes a Lemmings game that I bet most of you didn't even know existed. Want to see your own blog on the front page? Write a blog on the current topic: Villains. -- JRo]

My childhood is riddled with strange, obscure PC games. The problem was picking one that A) my inadequate, blurry memory can remember, and B) I could get working on my current computer so I could show it in all its glory. Well, I narrowed down the list to just a few games, then picked one.

I picked Lemmings, a game which is so strange and badly designed that -- wait, what? You've heard of Lemmings? I thought I was the only one who'd played -- OH. I read that wrong. This is Lemmings Paintball. Well, that's basically the same game as Lemmings, right?

Uh, no, it really isn't. Unlike the wildly popular original Lemmings and many of its spinoffs that preserved the core gameplay mechanic, Lemmings Paintball was actually a totally different game in every way imaginable... except the characters. They're still stupid rodents. (Nothing against rodents, mind you. Just, lemmings are kind of dumb, at least in video games.)

So what is the paintball variety of Lemmings? We just don't know. At a glance, it looks like a 3/4 top-down isometric action platformer shooter thingy. Actually, that's a pretty good description of it, I guess. Is it a good game? Well, yeah, I kind of think it is.

You control up to four lemmings in a squad. In every level you're dropped unceremoniously out of a random box that appears in the sky and have to make your way through the level and grab up to four flags.

The gameplay is pretty simple. You click somewhere, and your lemming attempts to walk there. He's pretty short, though, and in typical lemming fasion can't climb much. And roving through most of the level are evil lemmings (as in all good games, people on the other team are simply evil) that will attack you with their eponymous paintball guns as you approach. Of course, you're also armed with such a gun and can squirt paint at them first.

So screwed. How did I let this happen!?

Actually, those red lemmings are heinously good shots; if you're standing still, they will nail you in a hurry. Pretty quickly you start to develop this technique of dodging side to side while shooting, which works well in most situations.

The charm of this game comes partly from its aesthetics and partly from its level design. Aesthetically, I love that there are several different environment skins: snowy, grassy, military base, multicolored abstract blocks, etc. I like the triumphant backflip animation my lemming does when he gets the flag, accompanied by a diminutive "Yippee!" I like the satisfying splat of the paintball against the enemy. I even like the unmistakable creak of the gates opening. Just all in all, the sounds and graphics, though not oustanding in any way, just work.

The levels keep introducing new elements, which are the building blocks of the puzzles and environments. First they introduce gates controlled by switches. Then they show you hidden panels (like, really well hidden) that you walk over to trigger switches. Then come blocks that raise and lower according to some trigger. Then sliding panels that, once you enter them, you slip all the way to the end of some route. Then balloons that you grab, which carry you to predetermined end-points. I came across a catapult which flung you into the midst of enemies! There were trampolines that bounced you a predictable distance...

What I'm trying to convey is how all the levels are filled with what I can only think of in my mind as "little delights." You never know what combination of gadgets you will play with in the next level.

My other lemming is just off screen to the left flipping the switch.

And they use all these different elements pretty well. For example, in one level a lemming flips a switch to toggle the position of alternating raised or lowered walls, so that a teammate can get past. It's a pretty simple "puzzle", but it's made more interesting by the fact that enemy lemmings are patrolling the route amidst the moving walls. If your timing is bad, the enemies will actually be standing on top of the walls and have very easy shots at you.

In another level, flipping a switch does seemingly nothing... except, if you awaken your sense of exploration and experimentation, you'll find that a particular walkway has now become slippery, so you can slide off a ramp and catch some sweet air on the way to the flag.

If only that were a slick ramp...

Another thing I like is that, for the player with a sharp eye, there are shortcuts in plain sight in some of the levels, but the particular layout that they've put in naturally guides your eye to some other, longer, more perilous path. In fact, several of the levels seem to have multiple paths through, and it's fun to experiment to see which are the riskiest.

Despite all these fun and interesting things, some of the design decisions have that primitive quality that we feel we've left behind with modern games. If you get shot by an enemy lemming, you usually have to start the entire level over. And some of the hit detection is spotty; your lemming may walk off a cliff due to what seemed like an innocuous click.

And if you're controlling multiple lemmings in your team at once, they really do what you say, not what you meant. The sympathetic critic in me wants to say say that maybe this is thematic, in keeping with the chronically braindead nature of the creature that is the lemming.

Suddenly, a catapult! What?

As an aside, this is a pretty old game. When I bought it as a kid, it came on a CDROM, but when I look at the size on the disk, there's only 15 MB there! I guess back then it was either 10 floppies or a CD, huh? As another aside, it ran without any issue on Windows 8. That was pretty surprising!

I don't want to call this game seminal or important or anything (the game flopped; I'm writing about it in a blog about obscurity), but you'll find most of the level design elements present in contemporary games, such as the coordinated timing-based puzzles between multiple teammates. This game is not fantastic, but it's not bad. Good luck finding a copy, but if you do, I promise you at least ten minutes of fun out of it.

 Follow Blog + disclosure _knutaf

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wow, I feel really stupid. You had to give the Zora King the bottle with the letter in it. Like actually equip the... Wow. Oh, modern gaming conveniences, how I take you for granted.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Srry abot tye lak of coments latly. As a squid now it haas bcom hrrd 2 tipe. Im a sqiid now.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Backing Indivisible can be done with more than just money. Strapped for cash? then spread the word! post about it on Facebook, Instagram, tweet or simply tell your friends. Head to
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Even with the help of an old hunter I can only knock ludwig to his holy blade phase -_- I will kill the jerk, even if it takes me all night.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
This week in How We Can Make Link Hotter... [img][/img]
JPF720 avatarJPF720
I'm trying to publish a new blog post but for some reason it's not showing?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If anyone is interested, Amazon has the $80 Persona Q limited edition at just over $40 right now. Haven't beaten it yet, but it's been a ton of fun so far, and at that price, hey!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I don't know what's been going on, but I actually feel like I have to fight with the formatting of the blog editor now to get it right. Hope it'll settle down soon.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
What? Wonderful 101 on eShop is $19? NO EXCUSES.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Robin secretly controls the boobs of Nintendo characters. She stole the Xenoblade boobs and took the Fatal Frame lingerie for herself. #DammitRobin [img][/img]
Matheus Railane avatarMatheus Railane
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I was just playing Skyrim and wondered if anyone has come up with Fallout 3/New Vegas weapon mods for Skyrim? Fighting dragons with assault weapons sounds almost necessary. [img][/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just bought Fallout: New Vegas. Throw me the best mods there are that AREN'T Total Conversion mods. So now Who Vegas - yet.
Parismio avatarParismio
Oh this Undertale summaration flipnote is so good:
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -