The Gentleman is a curious combination of endless-running and action-platforming which recalls an era when man's primarily concern was looking as dapper and dandy as possible.

The work of Andrew Sheaff and Christopher Buckley, this strangely atmospheric release will also bring back memories of the unforgiving platform titles of the 8-bit era - whether or not that's a positive thing depends largely on your own personal preference.

Set across 41 different levels, The Gentleman involves getting from one lamp post to another, situationed at the end of the level.

In-between you'll find platforms to negotiate, moving blocks to contend with, and - possibly most importantly of all - monocles to collect. The protagonist of this tale - a stick-like gent with a top hat and cane - has lost his precious eye-pieces throughout the dimly-lit and rain-beaten levels, and finding all of them unlocks something special.

Eyes on the prize

We'd love to tell you what that special something is, but we can't as we haven't uncovered all 123 monocles yet - largely due to the fact that The Gentleman is only slightly less challenging than performing brain surgery with a toothpick while inebriated and being attacked by a herd of irate goats.

You have an endless supply of lives, but even that doesn't stop the game from descending into a pit of pure frustration.

Death in The Gentleman comes when your avatar plummets off the bottom of the screen, which is a common occurrence. Stuck in a permanent running pose, the only control you have over the hero is when he jumps and how high, although you can also wall-jump to reach higher places.

Our dapper fellow will continue to run until he arrives at a solid wall, at which point he turns 180 degrees and sprints in the opposite direction. This means that you have to time your leaps to perfection, or you'll find yourself hitting a block, turning around, and falling into the abyss on a regular basis.

Charming devil

Because there are no checkpoints, dying right at the end of the level means you have to restart from the beginning - a process which becomes positively infuriating the longer the play.

Despite the stern challenge, there's a charm to The Gentleman that forces you to stick with the game - possibly longer than it deserves. The use of classical music is inspired, and the dour atmosphere - accentuated by some well-written diary entries by the main character pertaining to the loss of his beloved monocle - is surprisingly striking.

The difficulty is also strangely enticing. And, although the game can be annoying, fans of trial-and-error platformers (the type that found a receptive audience back in the days of the C64 and Spectrum) will feel right at home.

The Gentleman isn't a game which can be recommended to everyone, but it's still worth a glance if you're after a piece of software with old skool sensibilities.