Well, it’s not a game of the stature of “Dark Reign Redux”, but “Manic Miner 360″ is an actual licenced remake of Matthew Smith’s 1983 magnum opus of the same name (sans the “360″ in the title). And that alone made it worthy of looking at.
The game is quite faithful to the original ZX Spectrum version from the early 80s, with a few new wrinkles (a full-frame option for widescreen TVs, and an auto-save on exit feature chiefly). Graphics are right out of something you would expect from the era, in all the good and bad that entails. But full credit to the developer for actually going out and securing the licence to a beloved platformer, rather than simply remaking it, and managing to add a feature or two along the way. If you don’t opt for the full-frame widescreen version, there is a version to watch it with a skin that looks like an old TV set, which is a nice touch. There’s also a “trainer” that will be nostalgic (unfortunately) primarily to those who pirated games back in the day (“trainers” were modes added by hackers that let you modify a game’s behaviour, generally to make it easier to play).
240 Microsoft Points (the 80 MSP price point may not have been reachable because it’s a licenced product) makes it an unmissable deal for fans. Those with no nostalgia for it may find something here as well, but they’re probably best off trying before they buy. I will say, as someone who didn’t play the original back in the day, that nostalgia for the period may be all that’s required, rather than familiarity with the exact game itself.
Here’s what the developer (Elite Systems Ltd) has to say about the game:
“Manic Miner for the ZX Spectrum (an 8-bit home computer) is one of THE defining games of the 80s. Manic Miner 360 is the near-100% original ZX Spectrum game, as written by Matthew Smith in 1983 and is brought to you – as a licenced product. Featuring: – full-screen and bordered portrait play / display modes – ‘auto-save’, on exiting the game”