PP HAMMER / Demonware / Amiga
PP Hammer was part of the big wave of me-too mascot platformers in the wake of the first Sonic game, but this one stands out for a couple of reasons. One is that it eschews furrydom for a lovable nerd with a monster tool, exploring caves in a sort of hybrid of Spelunker and Lode Runner. The other is that it's a puzzle-platformer.
It's a solid, quality game overall, but one that is diabolical and full of "gotchas" that suddenly choppy choppy your PP. You have to always be scouting ahead and planning your moves carefully, as it's easy to dig yourself into a situation you can't get out of. The thing that makes this all manageable is that you can "suicide" at any time with the ESC key if you get stuck, which burns a life but lets you continue roaming the level with the only other cost being the time that has ticked off already. That, and you get a password to continue with a full complement of lives after every level. Levels are also never really all that big, but are substantial enough to provide a challenge.
Also not a bad-looking game, with some nice little graphical flourishes. It has some pretty nice MOD-style music, and PP does an amusing rumba when he clears a level.
While the level design can get frustrating at times, the only real complaint I had with the gameplay is the usual Amiga imprecision of having to jump by pressing up due to the one-button joystick (a problem not confined to just this game). Otherwise, it's actually more forgiving than the usual Amiga action game. Aside from the right-sized levels and passwords after each, it also makes use of the keyboard to manage your inventory and add some more depth to the puzzles. You'll find keys about to unlock doors, potions that grant you special abilities and so on.
A neat and polished little surprise from a no-name publisher, I think this game suffered most from being released on the Amiga in its waning days. If there were a good DOS port it would probably have been a bigger hit.
* Gameplay Video