Written by Siegfried Kurtz and published exclusively for the ZX Spectrum in 1986 by Addictive Games, Kirel is a simple but playable isometric platform/puzzle game with attractive graphics and presentation.
The basic idea is: you control a frog-like alien creature, called Kirel, and he must move around the landscape, avoiding enemies, diffusing bombs, and eventually making his way to the exit.
Kirel can only climb one step at a time, though, so must move blocks around to make new steps and access new areas. He can only move one block at a time, but this is enough to complete each stage.
A burning fuse wire acts as a time limit, so you have to move quickly to beat each screen. As you’d expect: the first few screens are easy, but by the fourth screen things become more challenging. There are 70 different screens to play through in total.
One useful feature is that you can rotate the play area, which allows you to see anything hidden on the other side of a structure. Back then, this was an innovative feature in isometric puzzle games, and it was pretty much essential to make this game work. The programmer should be applauded for fitting the game into only 48K of RAM.
Kirel was a critical success at the time of release, and did okay business, before sinking without a trace. It’s still remembered with fondness now, though, which is testament to its greatness. If you like isometric puzzles games, it’s worth hunting down.
Horizontal moves (or transporters when available) are controlled by keyboard or joystick.
0 or fire button = pick up or put down block
1 = rotate view 90 degrees clockwise
2 = rotate view 180 degrees
3 = rotate view 90 degrees anti-clockwise
Space = stops the game and finds Kirel for you
Enter = restarts the game
B = builds a bridge in the direction Kirel is facing (if possible)
D = vertical transport down (if possible)
E = vertical transport up (if possible)
H = stops the game while you think about it
P = play mode
S = starts the game – starts a new game
T = training mode
VT = abort game