by Nick Fleming
Cult Games
Crash Issue 55, August 1988   (1988-07-28)   page(s) 105

Kemshu is set on a square board that is split into 100 multi-coloured squares. The objective is to change all the colours on the board to a single target colour, indicated at the right of the screen.

Using a cursor, squares can be moved across the board in rows. Four blocks of the target colour need to be placed around a differently coloured block to transform it.

Changing the colour of all the squares within the given time limit gains access to the next level. A status box to the right of the screen shows the present score, the percentage of screen area covered, time limit and the target colour.

Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: bright and functional
Sound: none
Options: definable keyboard

'Brainstorm (90%, Issue 52) almost drove me up the wall with its simple but addictive gameplay. Kemshu has similarly tied my brain into knots. The graphics are simple but effective you can't go far wrong with a screen full of coloured blocks) but sound is sadly missing - a cheerful tune would have gone down well. Control is easy to master, so you don't spend hours rifling through bedsheet-sized instruction manuals. The saved time can be put to good use puzzling over the best way to solve the game. Overall Kemshu, although not quite in the Brainstorm league, is a simple strategy game definitely worth the £1.99 price tag.'
MARK ... 81%

'Puzzle games seem to be few and far between - it's nice to see that software houses haven't abandoned the genre completely. The idea behind Kemshu is very simple but play gets quite difficult on the higher levels. If time is running out, the action can become quite frantic. The game involves quick thinking rather than complex strategy. As you try desperately to complete each level, success often depends more on lucky reactions. As every round involves exactly the same type of basic strategy (only the decreasing time limits add variety), gameplay does get repetitive after a while. Kemshu lacks the variety of a game such as Brainstorm but it is very playable in the short term.'
PHIL ... 77%

Addictive Qualities73%
Summary: General Rating: Initially addictive, it's not likely to keep a storm raging in your brain for long.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 33, September 1988   page(s) 51

Kemshu gave me a few problems at first: how could I start the review when there was no plot or even decent instructions to quote/make fun of!? Well, I've decided not to do any quoting but just to... explain the game! (Cripes, I sound like an early-evening gameshow host).

You start off with a screen full of differently coloured tiles which you must surround with squares of a target colour. This is achieved by 'sliding' the columns and rows of tiles until an incorrectly coloured square is surrounded by squares of the target colour. This then turns into a correctly coloured square with a sort of 'crunch' noise. Turn the whole screen into the target colour within a time limit and you win: run out of time and you lose. A simple idea, but then simple ideas are usually the most successful: look at Split Personalities and Think.

Kemshu would be a very addictive game but unfortunately it's too easy; I managed to beat it (yes. again!) on about my tenth game and on a black and white TV too!

If you have a very small number of brain cells this could be the game for you but people with as many as me (four) may find it a bit of a walkover.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 100, June 1990   page(s) 76

Normally when people claim that a game is very simple but maddeningly addictive, my response is that they must have been mad in the first place. But in the case of Kemshu, it's true! Nothing could be more simple, but nothing is more likely to reduce you to a driveling nervous wreck in record time.

It like this. You remember the Rubik Cube, the plastic square from Hell? Kemshu works on a similar principle, but it's in two dimensions. The screen shows a grid of 100 coloured squares, and at the right hand side is a timer, a score indicator and a percentage remaining display. Percentage of what, you wisely ask.

For each level you have a target colour (shown at the bottom right). Your task is to surround squares of that colour with squares of any other colour. The target square then changes colour, and you move on to the next target.

To move the squares you control a flashing cursor using keyboard or joystick. When you have the cursor positioned, press the fire button and move the joystick, and the entire row or column of squares will jump along. Say your target colour is red; once you have placed a black square at the top, bottom left and right of it, it will change colour to black, and you can go on the chase the next red square.

The similarity to Rubik's Cube, of course, is that any change you make affects not only the one row or column, but and number of other rows or columns; the trick is to plan ahead, shuffling the colours you want into position to zap the next target. A useful technique I figured out is to gather as many squares as you can in the middle of the screen, then move the target colours into the centre: this seems to be quicker than trying to surround the target squares wherever they lie.

You don't have to surround the squares' diagonal edges, but you can't surround a square which is at the edge of the screen (not even by placing a colour square on the opposite side) - you have to move it away from the edge.

There's only one problem with Kemshu - it wouldn't let me win. Every time I got the counter down to 3% remaining, it would announce that I had run out of time, wish me a nice day and go back to the start. Maybe it's just my copy which is wonky - the screenshots on the sleeve show later levels - but it would be a bit of a bottomer if you sploshed down your hard-earned wonga for a game you couldn't even beat.

Label: Cult
Price: £2.99
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Summary: Fascinating mind-game with a twist. Not that great to look at, but great fun.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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