Of all my top 11 iOS games of the year, if there was one I might have left out, it would have been Forget-Me-Not. And yet, it sits at number four. So why would I have left it out? Quite simply, because I'm rubbish at it...
On reflection, though, lack of ability is not a reason to penalise a game. Especially not when it's as good as Forget-Me-Not.
It would be easy to give Forget-Me-Not a couple of goes, dismiss it as too hard and never touch it again. Because although it looks like a simple old 80s arcade game, there's a surprising amount of depth to it, and it takes a fair amount of play and perseverance to go beyond merely scratching the surface.
Forget-Me-Not sees you placed in a series of randomly-generated mazes. Each maze is filled with flowers, which you must collect. Once you have all the flowers, a portal is opened which enables you to progress. But to open the portal, you must have the key...
That's not so difficult, the key is openly on display at the start of every level. All you need to do is pick it up. The only slight problem is that each maze is inhabited by various critters, and they all want that key, too...
Fortunately, you're armed, and with your constantly firing weapon, most creatures can be dispatched reasonably quickly and painlessly. Or rather, they can be if you've got a long corridor and some distance between you. Less fortunately, many of the mazes are quite cramped and twisty, and if you get jammed in you're liable to take some damage.
Hey, cool! I can explore AND get my five a day!
It's possible to repair your damaged health. Well, apparently it is, anyway. Shooting a critter leaves behind a mountain of fruit, which can be picked up... but only for points. To gain health, you must find a green potion. I've never found one yet! I've found a red one... that gives your shots extra power for a time, which is handy. But the green potion remains a mystery to me.
The game has many other subtleties and features, too. For instance, "grinding" along walls builds up a resistance to collisions, although this lasts for a very limited time. It's like a friction-powered shield. Too much of a good thing is bad for you, though, and if you grind too long you'll explode!
Another interesting gameplay feature is that bullets will wrap around corridors and you can damage yourself, but if you have the key, this will block bullets. Of course, those sneaky enemies might steal the key from you, and then you're in even more trouble.
Use keys to open doors. Mazes come in many shapes and sizes.
I hate to throw any negatives into the mix, but there are people out there that aren't keen on the game's swipe controls. Personally I think they're fine, although I've had a couple of moments where I haven't turned when I've wanted to. But it never results in insta-death, and I still think it's better than having a joystick on the screen, so you have to take as you find.
For such a simple game, it could take you a long time to figure out Forget-Me-Not's complexities. That's certainly been the case with me. But it hasn't been for the want of trying. If you'd walked into an arcade in the early Eighties, Forget-Me-Not could have stood proudly among cabinets such as PacMan, Amidar and Tutankham... games that are all brought to mind whilst playing. But that's not to say Forget-Me-Not is dated... it's a great addition to any iDevice. If you like the sound of it, it's available for the princely sum of £1.49.