Firstly, I'd like to mention that this game is based on a 1980s platform game by A. Bolton which was released for the Amstrad CPC computers in 1985, and not the Atari 8-bit Scramble style game which was released earlier in 1981.

On loading the game you are introduced to a title screen which is littered with ads for demos of other games. Avoid these and select the "Start Game" option and you will be transported to level one. There is also a handy level selector (with futuristic background music), although you can only select levels that you have already played.

Playing a platform game on a tablet is a very different experience than playing on both a PC or, indeed, the Amstrad computer. It does take a while to get used to not using a keyboard or joystick. You touch the left and right arrows at the bottom left of the screen to move your character and touch the circle on the bottom right to jump. This is a system that will require some practice, but once you get into it you'll find it as easy as using a keyboard, hopefully!

The idea of the game is to collect all of the fuel pods and other items on the screen and then make your way back to the start, avoiding some rather nasty-looking aliens. The game looks very much like the original version, but actually is a lot smoother to play with more responsive controls. Unlike the original, there are some excellent jarresque synth music tracks playing in the background, too.

Something I did find annoying, though, is that when you die everything you collected in that level reappears and you have to collect them all over again. I'm not sure if this was the intention of the programmer or a bug?

Nonetheless, this is certainly a challenging and entertaining platformer, although it's not quite up there with the likes of Manic Miner or Jet Set Willy. Fans of the platforming genre will certainly find it entertaining, and as the game is entirely free you can't really complain too much!

Mark's rating: ****

Caverns of Mars level 4 - android platform game
Screenshot of level 4 from the Android version of Caverns of Mars