I first played Fantasy World Dizzy in early 1990, a few months after it was released and at a time when I still had some Christmas money to fritter away on games. Back then, money was tight and picking up a new game meant an investment of not just time but also very limited resources; so you had to choose wisely.
I wouldn’t start buying Amstrad Action on a monthly basis for another two years, because a) I couldn’t afford to and b) I wasn’t yet interested in magazines (that would change once AA started carrying a monthly cover tape and thus became interesting to young, poor me because of its monthly “free” game).
Because I wasn’t buying the game magazines, I didn’t have any knowledge of which games were worth picking up and which weren’t. Buying a new game was therefore fraught with peril. Would I blow my tiny allowance on something awful, or would I make a great investment that would keep me going for months, if not years, to come?
With Fantasy World Dizzy, I thought I would be on to a winner. My cousin and one of my friends both had copies of Treasure Island Dizzy and we had all played that so much that I knew the Dizzy games were likely to all be good. So when I saw this one, a game none of us had played, I expected we would all be able to play and enjoy it for a month or two.
I was not disappointed.
Fantasy World Dizzy is where we are first introduced to The Yolk Folk, Dizzy’s extended family and friends. The purpose of the game is to rescue Daisy, Dizzy’s fianceé, as well as collect enough coins to allow Dizzy and Daisy to settle down together. It’s a fairly straightforward plot and to be honest, it’s enough to keep you going through the game.
The game itself builds on the setup from Dizzy and Treasure Island Dizzy in that it’s a fairly simple set of puzzles laid out in a linear fashion, with traps and pitfalls to deal with along the way. The game world isn’t that big (I think Treasure Island Dizzy may be a larger game in terms of map size) and the puzzles aren’t all that complex but there’s enough here to keep you going for about half an hour, if you know what you’re doing.
For a budget title that was released at £2.99, a 30-minute runtime for playing through it isn’t bad at all; especially when you know you’re going to spend a lot longer than that working out the puzzles for your first few sessions. I can’t fault it’s value for money.
There are some problems with the game, however. While the puzzles themselves are all pretty straightforward, some of the screens are pure time-extension mechanisms. There’s a room where all the barriers and platforms are essentially invisible, because they blend in with the background; and getting out of there once you fall into it is an absolute chore. You’ll need a map, and you have to complete that screen if you want to be able to collect all 30 coins in the game.
Moreover, some of the clouds you need to walk on to finish the game (and you need to walk on them at least twice to win) have holes in them – but you can’t see the holes because the clouds themselves look solid – it’s frustrating and adds nothing to the game.
Overall, these are minor issues in an otherwise excellent game; but when you are faced with those problems during play, they are immensely frustrating. I honestly love this game, it’s one of my personal favourites (Magic Land Dizzy is the best of the Dizzy games but this one comes a close second) but I would be remiss for not mentioning the unnecessary fake difficulty issues, so there you go.
All in all, Fantasy World Dizzy is a great game and you should give it a try if you get the chance. It’s one of the better puzzle platformers out there and whichever format you try it on, you’ll have a great time.