From mutated fish to hyperactive hedgehogs, we've seen our fair share of weird and wonderful platform heroes, but surely none is stranger than the titular star of Gish Reloaded and its predecessor Gish Mobile.
The amorphous blob of tar is hardly the cutest of characters, with little in the way of features other than a sinister pair of glowing yellow eyes and a rather nasty set of fangs. Yet Gish has found himself a modicum of happiness with his wife Brea and a pair of rather ugly children.
In fact, such is the degree of joy in the life of our hero that he's unwittingly attracted the attentions of his ex-girlfriend Hera, who has kidnapped his offspring and run off into the sewers in a bid for vengeance.Climbing up the walls
When you finally gain control of Gish in the first of many sewer levels, the first thing you'll notice is the obvious inertia of his movements. Your globular avatar is subject to Newton's laws, but he has a couple of tricks up his sleeve to counter their constraints.
A tap of the '#' key makes Gish turn slick, allowing him to slide through narrow passageways. Conversely, the '*' button allows Gish to stick to surfaces, granting him the power to climb across walls and ceilings.
The opening levels help familiarise you with these tools as you slip and slither to the exit, with on-screen advice offered by the disembodied 'Narrator', who fancies himself as a bit of a comedian - he should probably stick to the day job.
Before long you'll start to encounter increasingly difficult physics-based puzzles, such as blocks that need to be pushed onto switches, or pendulous platforms and elevators that transport you past spike pits or to otherwise inaccessible platforms.
A further degree of danger is supplied by fanged creatures that can be despatched by making Gish angry with a tap of '0', and jumping on them. Get it right and they explode with a highly satisfying squelch.
In the early running you'll often get it very wrong, with disasterous consequences. Controlling Gish's momentum can sometimes be a bit of a lottery, especially when negotiating some of the trickier sections.
There's a distinctly drab feel to proceedings, too, with the bland, washed-out colours and the attempts at humour often falling short of the mark.
Are you sewer?
And yet it's difficult not to get drawn into the subterranean world of Gish. Despite the initial awkwardness of the controls, you'll soon find yourself flitting around each of the 35+ levels with ease as you master the inertia of your globular avatar.
There's also good news for multiplayer fans, as Gish Reloaded features an additional 25 co-operative levels, along with Deathmatch and Race modes over Bluetooth.Gish Reloaded is more than a little bit silly, and the stark, humourless environments can be initially off-putting. Dig beneath the surface of its dreary underground setting, though, and you'll find a solid platform puzzler that - much like Gish himself - overcomes its imperfect looks to win you over with its simple charms.