Now in my Halloween series of reviews this year I reviewed an odd little game called Devil World, it was a puzzle game that had some weird setpieces and a Pac-Man style of gaming that actually changes the gameplay and makes unique and for the most part, alien. Now I understand this is a Japanese game so this would be considered normal, but I’ve grown fond of it. But little did I know, there is another puzzle Nintendo game that tops the oddity, this is known as Clu Clu Land (Kurukuru Rando), developed and published by Nintendo and was released for the Famicom in 1984 before being released in the west in the US in 1985 as a launch title and eventually released in Europe in 1987.
Sea urchins, the Unira have been stealing all the gold bars called Ingots in the underwater kingdom of Clu Clu Land and has buried them in a series of mazes, a bubble fish named…Bubbles (or in Japan she’s known as Gloopy) ventures to these mazes to bring the Ingots back. So the game consists of mazes, you control Bubbles and you must swim through the mazes to dig the Ingots out whilst defeating the Unira by shooting them with a sound wave, when they’re stunned, you can push them to a wall and crush them.
But here is where Clu Clu Land gets strange since in order to turn around in the direction you want to go, you must swing on turning posts, the weirdest part is that whenever you do find all the treasure at the end of each level it reveals an image based on the Ingots you collected. It’s the jack of all trades but hard to master, it might sound simple coming from me, but trying to master it will take time, it’s actually difficult to control, it’s so odd and it ends up leaving you confused, making it a very original game from the get go, I don’t see games like this and I can see why.
The graphics are basic but is appealing, it’s colourful though I wished the background was another colour, but limitations I guess. The music is forgettable, it could have been more catchy but I guess it does it’s job.
Overall, it’s a deceiving piece of work and I really applaud it for doing so, I think it’s because it’s something that no one else has done in this way before, which is why Nintendo can make original games with new ways to play each game, Clu Clu Land is a game that should be remembered as a fun if confusing title but it will be alien to many gamers, especially newer gamers.
You can get it on the NES/Famicom/Disk System,, Sharp Zaurus, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube (part of Animal Crossing) and Virtual Console.