Pyjamarama Review (ZX Spectrum)
Pyjamarama was the second release in the “Wally Week” series of games from publisher Mikro-Gen. You played the part of Wally, well his dream-self anyway, which may or may not make sense but I shall explain further!
Wally has fallen asleep like most of us do at night, (apart from that bloke in Faithless) and you are charged with the task of waking him up before the “Gaffer gives him the elbow” as it’s so eloquently put in the game. You are basically in charge of Wally’s dream whereby a miniature version of Wally, complete with nightcap, has to make his way around the house trying to find a way of setting his alarm clock off. Of course, you will have to avoid lots of household objects from possessed oven-ready chickens, falling library books and quite nasty looking snappy plants.
The fantastically named Pyjamarama is a platformer/puzzle game where you have to collect items within Wally’s house to exchange for others, the majority of which have some kind of link, i.e. you need to swap the hammer to get the fire extinguisher out of the glass, fire extinguisher puts out fire and etc. (I don’t want to give too much away, this isn’t a walkthrough you know!) so you’ll find some of it makes sense when you look at it, other bits, well, they probably won’t (ignition keys to swap with a crash helmet? Ooh, I’ve said too much!)
Also, you can only hold up to two items at a time so you will need to be careful and think ahead about what you’re going to need solve the puzzles that are laid out before you (nothing worse than turning up to the space rocket without petrol and then finding the lift has turned itself off and then getting stuck because you haven’t got the bucket of water with you, so are met with a grim end as the evil plants have you as a main course… I’ve said too much again.)
Your energy status is shown in the form of “Snooze Energy” which you’ll find at the top of the screen represented by a pint glass; this would explain why Wally can’t wake up I guess… too much of the Devil’s nectar I would suspect. Lucky git.
The sound in Pyjamarama isn’t really up to much in all honesty, a nice beepy tune greets you on the main screen but when you get onto the menu screen and into the game, you are just met with little taps of Wally’s feet and the odd nipping noise from those plants. But that said, I don’t think the game needs a vast array of sound; the minimal approach definitely works on this one which means you are free to blast a bit of Duran Duran to get the full 80’s experience, if you so wish. Nothing fits better with this game than a bit of “The Reflex” whilst you’re sliding down the bannister. Or maybe “Wild boys” would fit better. Anyway, going off subject a bit!
Actually, “Rio” would probably go better.
Looks wise, you can’t really fault Pyjamarama. Big bright sprites throughout the game, including Wally whose nightcap swings back and forth as you walk (nice) along with all the items to be collected and various pieces of Wally’s furniture are very well detailed. There’s also a nice piece of animation when Wally loses a life where he slowly falls to the floor and then floats up to the sky (Awwww… poor Wally) but this is a nice touch to soften the blow of Wally biting the dust. (Hmmm…”Another One Bites the Dust”, another good 80’s tune to listen to with this game.)
If you’re lucky enough to find it, there is also an in-game version of Space Invaders lurking in one of the rooms in Wally’s vast house, where the “invaders” take the form of the various evil nasties you find strewn across Wally’s house. Similar to the version you get in “Herbert’s Dummy Run”, whereby when you clear the screen you will get a different evil nasty “invader” each time. I particularly like seeing all of the oven-ready chickens moving back and forth across the screen wiggling their legs at you! Just like the original Space Invaders, the nasties get faster and faster the closer they get to you which can get you in a panic but if all else fails, you can always just walk out of the room and start again. Result. (that’s not cheating, is it?)
In summary, Pyjamarama is a very enjoyable game with it’s bright colours, big graphics and puzzles that will get the old brain working. There’s not much negative about this game really. As with most in the Wally Week series, these are very well thought out games with enough depth and detail to keep the most puzzle-hungry person (though I’ve never eaten cardboard myself… Bu-bum!) going for a long while and you will get a good feeling of satisfaction when you complete it.
Speaking of completing it, I think the reason why I remember this game so fondly is because I was the first person in my house to finish it, which is always a bonus (and my dad told me I’d never achieve anything with my life. Pah!). I think I was only around 6 or 7 at the time… possibly… I was definitely under 10 that much I know, but this is a true Speccy classic.
Oh, and finally (I swear this is the end now) there is one little detail I’ve left out – the boxing glove. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know what I’m talking about, if not, well, prepare for some frustration. For some reason or other, you will get the odd punch in the face from a boxing glove when moving through rooms, which at first is a bit funny but not when you’re on your last bit of snooze energy searching for that little extra bit of energy boost and all of a sudden – BOOM! – smacked in the face. Grrrrrr!!! (You can’t see me but I assure you I have my angry face on).
If you manage to not throw your Speccy/emulating PC/laptop/phone (delete as applicable) out of the window, hat’s off to you.
Stupid boxing glove.
Retro Yak Dave says: Pyjamarama! An all time classic, what a great time we had controlling Wally’s dream’s.. however, to this day in my own dreams (nightmares), I’m still trying to escape that bloomin’ boxing glove!