Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oh No! Not More Lemmings!

Nope it's not Lemmings, just an incredible simulation. It's called Caveman and if you ever got sucked into a three-hour game of Lemmings then this app is for you. Released all the way back in 1991 by British developer Psygnosis for the Commodore Amiga, Lemmings was a puzzle game in which you guided a herd of lemmings (although they looked more like Fraggles to me) across a treacherous path littered with traps and pitfalls with the ultimate goal of reaching an exit portal, which would invariably lead to another, more difficult level. The catch was, however, that the lemmings never stopped moving and would simply fall off of a cliff or walk into a spinning fan if someone didn't tell them otherwise, which is where the player comes in, assigning specific tasks to individual lemmings to help them overcome any obstacles or dangers that might otherwise get in their way. You could pause the game and plan your strategy, but assigning tasks was all done on the fly and since there was a time limit of just a few minutes, the game could get pretty intense as your cursor flew all over the screen trying to block one group of lemmings from strolling into a fire-pit while simultaneously keeping a builder-lemming busy constructing bridges over a chasm. The game itself was hugely popular and spawned several sequels and conversions for other systems up until about 2000 when the party stopped. Since then gamers have either had to make do with limited-release ports such as the one made for the PSP in 2006 or indie clones such as the excellent Pingus, which runs on Mac, Linux and Windows.

So in early 2010, when a little-known group called mobile1up took it upon themselves to bring Lemmings to the contemporary world of mobile gaming, I about pissed my pants with excitement. Working from a port of the original game that was made for the PalmOS (remember PalmPilots?) the folks at mobile1up managed to strip away the hacks and additions that had been bolted on to make the game work with Palm's unique idiosyncrasies resulting in a pixel-perfect rendition of the game while retaining most of the original source code. Development of the game was tracked on mobile1up's development blog with regular updates until June of 2010 when Sony, who somehow managed to pick up the property after the dissolution of Psygnosis, sent them a cease and desist effectively throwing all of their hard work into the trash. So in a big FU to the man, mobile1up released it anyway, but with all new graphics, sounds and a caveman theme, and it became an underground hit. Sorry, Sony, you had your chance. Caveman plays and feels almost exactly like Lemmings and features all of the same levels and even the same animations as its counterpart and is available for a multitude of platforms:

  • iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad 
  • Palm Pre / Pre 2 running WebOS 1.4.5 or later 
  • TouchPad running WebOS 3.0.0 or later 
  • BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0.1 or later 
  • Mac OSX 10.4 or later (PowerPC and Intel)
Windows and Linux versions are currently in the works. I don't think there's an Android version yet, but you Android folks are used to not having any apps anyway, right? (just kidding, gawd!)


  1. I fucking love Lemmings. I just discovered and DL'ed a mame rom for lemmings. Don't know if it works or not yet...

  2. Good luck! Pingus is actually worth checking out too, and it's free!