For well over a thousand years, the Evil Forest Lord has been magically trapped within their dark tower, ensuring the safety of all that inhabit the great forest kingdom. However, you (a magical pumpkin who feels to obliged to protect the forest) have noticed that the Moonstones that have been imprisoning their captive is starting to lose their powers and its up to you oh magical one to rise up and head on into the tower to locate them and power them up again before evil spreads across the land.
All Hallows: Rise of the Pumpkin is a platform game that sees you take control of your favourite orange vegetable in an attempt to locate and touch 5 Moonstones scattered across the game world. As you enter the tower, you will find that your pumpkin is of a bouncing variety (yes, just like the one from Cauldron II) and that your progress through the dark tower is not a straight forward one as you get accustomed to the subtlety of controlling a bouncing character.
In order to be successful at activating all Moonstones, you will need to navigate your way through a myriad of nasty enemies and traps that will quickly drain your pumpkin juice (i.e. energy) upon contact.
Some areas within the tower are not accessible and you will need to hit door levers and collect magical tablets to unlock these and allow you to bounce your way deeper into the tower.
To help you with your objective, there are extra lives to collect and you can also top up your energy at objects that can best be described as blue fire.
So how does All Hallows play? Well it is highly enjoyable. The bouncing mechanic distinguishes the game from all the other platform games on the ‘Speccy’ and provides a somewhat refreshing gaming experience. The game avoids the need to do pixel perfect jumps though blind jumps are prevalent and if you get these wrong then it is likely to end in death as your energy quickly deteriorates.
I really enjoyed that each screen is quite different from each other. The game never feels repetitive, nor does the task to locate all 5 Moonstones feel like a slog. The overall game design is very well done.
Graphically, All Hallows delivers on this front as each screen is filled with so much detail and the AY chiptune music is very pleasing to listen to and fits the game quite well.
Yes it is challenging to maneuver a bouncing object around platforms and ladders but you are never rushed in doing so. There is no time limit and only a few of the enemy characters will ever try to hone in on your position. Further, the ‘weightiness’ of your pumpkin feels spot on and contributes so much to the overall enjoyment of the game.
All Hallows: Rise of the Pumpkin is a very well produced game that excels in its simplicity (as simple as a bouncing game gets) and encourages you to have another go after each failed attempt.
Developed by John Blythe, All Hallows: Risk of the Pumpkin was originally released by Rucksack Games as a digital release but the game is now available in a physical cassette format by Bitmap Soft. If you are looking to start a collection of ‘new generation’ games for the ZX Spectrum then you cannot go far wrong that ordering your copy of All Hallows.
Highly enjoyable game play, clever screen designs, detailed graphics and top notch music all blend so well to provide a quality platform gaming experience.
Retro gaming journalist promoting NEW C64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum games. Contributes to RetroGamerNation YouTube channel, RVG and Vintage is the New Old blog sites, Reset 64 Magazine, The 8-Bit Annual and various other publications.