Repton 3 – first released by Superior Software in 1986 – was designed and written by Matthew Atkinson; not Repton‘s original designer, Tim Tyler. Thankfully Repton 3 reverts back to the formula that made the first Repton game so successful, with a series of password-accessible, time-limited levels, split into three data files (prelude, toccata, and finale).
Repton 3 has 24 levels in total and also includes a map editor so players can make their own levels. It also has new features, such as: fungus (which spreads gradually, like the amoeba in Boulder Dash); time capsules (that re-set the timer when collected); crowns (which give you extra points), and time bombs (which must be defused to complete each level). The player has to plan their route so that they finish up at the time bomb at the end of the level.
This time, warp tiles take you to different places within the same level (not to different levels, as in Repton 2), and other Repton 2 features (like spirits, cages, and keys) work the same as before. In essence, Repton 3 takes the best features of Repton [one] and Repton 2 and merges them into one game. Mostly importantly: it dumps the worst features of Repton 2 and adds a few new features of its own. Back are the level overviews from the first Repton, and this time they’re even rendered in the right colours, which is a pro touch.
Overall, Repton 3 is arguably the best game in the Repton series. It’s still a frustrating game at times, but it’s nowhere near as head-bangingly frustrating as Repton 2. Of course, some people will disagree, but they can f**k off… 😉
Additionally, three themed sets of levels for Repton 3 were released as continuations: Around the World in 40 Screens (1987), The Life of Repton (1987), and Repton Thru Time (1988). These three titles used a slightly modified version of the Repton 3 engine, where the algorithm for deciding the initial direction of a spirit has been improved.
Repton 3 is a decent puzzle game on the BBC Micro and sold well for Superior Software at the time. If you’re going to play just one Repton game I’d probably say try this one. Playing all three (of the initial trilogy) will give you a better overview of the evolution of the series.
More: Repton 3 on Wikipedia