Mystery World Dizzy - The Oliver Twins latest NES announcement gets a full review

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that if you’re reading Indie Retro News, you’re well aware that 8-bit megastar Dizzy has just turned the big 30, so rather than teach granny to, um... never mind, let’s just have a look at the new game shall we? Well, I say new, but in actual fact Mystery World Dizzy was supposed to have been released on the NES way back when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was just a mediocre teen movie, but instead those shrewd Oliver Twins decided it would be better to hide it in a desk drawer until the future came, and release it to hungry fans once 8-bit was cool again. Probably.

Mystery World Dizzy didn’t get released in 1993 as planned, but as of yesterday, MWD (not to be confused with WMD, which is an entirely different type of game) is available to play free online - so I did. Now, whether Mystery World Dizzy is any good or not will probably depend on what you want from a Dizzy game. If you want a genuinely new adventure featuring our favourite ovoid, well, you may be a little disappointed, as the game starts in the exact same dungeon where Fantasy World Dizzy started on the Spectrum. On the other hand, if you want a slightly updated and refreshed version of Fantasy World (favourite Dizzy game of the creators and many fans) that you can play without having to unpack your Amstrad, well, Bob’s your uncle, Denzil’s your cousin and Daisy’s your ever suffering girlfriend.

I'm sure I've seen this before...
Although Mystery World Dizzy was originally planned as the NES version of Fantasy World, there are a few extra surprises in the game for those who are familiar with Fantasy World - mind how you leave the warehouse, it’s a blind jump and if you go the wrong way you’re rat food! As I write this I’m maybe halfway through the game, and haven’t found the new underwater level that’s promised in the Oliver Twins’ intro video, but I’m sure I’ll find it soon...

In many ways, to say more is superfluous; if you like Dizzy, you know what to expect, and you’ll get plenty of it. If you’re new to the world of the Yolkfolk (and we all were, once!) then this is a nice little introduction to the games, complete with a mini tutorial over the menu screen.

So, you’ve been caught by Zaks (again) and must solve the puzzles to rescue Daisy and get back home avoiding various wildlife - rats, spiders, even a poisonous tree frog - which consider eggs to be a tasty treat, even if the egg in question is wearing boxing gloves. On the way, you can collect stars, which scores you points and also, if you’ve been collecting them all, give you a rough idea how far through the game you have come. Once you figure out (or remember) how the puzzles work, it’s just a matter of getting the better of the environmental factors (ie not falling in the water) in the process of solving them.

I don't remember a triceratops in Fantasy World Dizzy!

Visually... well, I’m a Sinclair devotee, so NES quality graphics will always seem a little out of place in a Dizzy game, but that aside it does look good: colourful without being garish (although those darn rats try to blend in with the scenery quite a lot!), and it has those classic Dizzy speech boxes popping up when you interact with one of the other characters. If there’s a downside, I found the tune got very tedious very quickly - but is somehow still a total earworm. Bring back the rock n roll heyday of Magicland!

To sum up: Mystery World is no substitute for a properly new official Dizzy game, but it’s a worthwhile way for fans new and old to celebrate 30 years of Dizzy.

Try it for yourself at

Review by Steve Trower

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