Confuzion was written by Paul Shirley – of Spindizzy fame – and published by Incentive Software in 1985. It’s a sliding puzzle game where you have to re-arrange tiles so that a spark can reach a bomb before the timer runs out.
The timer is represented by a fuse at the top of the screen and it slowly burns away as you play. Every time the spark hits a dead end on a tile the fuse gets shorter, thus reducing the time you have to complete each screen.
You start with five sparks and in the first few levels you only have one bomb to explode. From the third level onward you must blow multiple bombs up, which makes the game much harder. Moving water drops (called “tears”) are also introduced in later levels and must be avoided, otherwise they’ll extinguish the spark if collided with.
If you fail a level by either running out of time or having the spark extinguished then the puzzle resets and you go again – if you have any sparks left, that is.
There are fifty levels in total and you can choose to start at a variety of intermediate levels (1, 9, 17, 25, 33, and 41), so are not forced to play sequentially through the entire game. A high score table allows name entry and you can continue from the level you last reached, if you want to.
The excellent demo mode shows you how to play the game properly, and lists all of Confuzion‘s moves for you. Which is worth watching if you’ve never played it before.
One thing I would’ve liked, that is missing, is some sort of indicator that shows you which tile you can move. It’s easy to become confuzed (sic) by that.
The cassette tape that the game was supplied on featured a song – called “Confusion” – by the Sheffield band Private Property. Musician Rob Hubbard adapted this song into the game’s soundtrack.
Overall, while Confuzion is a clever, addictive and well-produced game, it is somewhat limited and probably won’t appeal to those who don’t like sliding puzzle games. That said: it is good enough to possibly change your mind, if you manage to get into it.
More: Confuzion on Wikipedia