Inca Quest
| Inca Quest

When you drop a slice of toast, it'll land buttered-side down. If you're waiting for a bus you'll see none for 15 minutes before having three arrive in short succession. Decide to leave your umbrella at home and it'll rain; bring it out with you and it'll be gloriously sunny.

Somewhere there's a universal book of all these rules that govern the peculiar facets of our lives on this planet. Amongst them will be this: every other new puzzle game will be set in a jungle infested with ancient ruins.

Inca Quest is just one of many games that prove this rule, putting you in the knee-high socks of an exploring professor, whose plane inconveniently crashes into an Incan temple. Armed with little more than your wits, you must unlock the secret of the temple you crashed into and hope to escape using the knowledge contained within.

As set-ups go, it's pretty thin, but as it's not in any way essential to your enjoyment of the game, you'll disregard it. This means you can get stuck right into the puzzle action.

Set inside the temple, you're faced with a collection of coloured orbs hanging from the ceiling. As a clock ticks down, the weight of the orbs pulls the ceiling lower. When the orbs touch the floor, you're in trouble, losing a life and the level.

What can you do to avoid this? Step up to the handy orb-firing device that you have to hand, and launch similarly-coloured orbs of your own at those looming above you.

Fire a red orb at a bunch of hanging red orbs on the ceiling and they'll disappear like those bubble-bath beads you buy your mum for Christmas when dropped in hot water. This not only clears some headroom for you, it gains you points, too.

Clear all the orbs in a level and you complete it. Pretty simple stuff, then, particularly if you've played Bubble Bobble.

Two of the three game modes do little to separate Inca Quest from the puzzle pack. Adventure mode pits you against a series of increasingly difficult levels, enabling you to unlock special orbs with extra powers, such as exploding all orbs within a certain radius.

Survival mode requires you to clear as many orbs as you can against an unending tide of the spherical things.

The part of Inca Quest that entertains the most is the innocuously-named Puzzle mode, where you're given a screen full of orbs and a pre-determined number of your own with which to clear them. This demands a much more tactical approach, and you need to carefully consider where you're going to fire each one of your precious stock.

The early levels can be disposed of within a minute, but the later ones will set you back much longer, as you figure out rebounds from the side walls, what chain reactions can be caused and how to exploit the various obstacles littering the ceiling.

There are over 80 of these levels and they'd warrant a release on their own – games like Marble Galaxy have done so with a similar concept. This means you can look at the Adventure and Survival modes as nice side dishes to the main course.

It's still not our favourite game in the hotly-contested 'puzzle game set in a ancient jungle' genre (Zuma is one of them). But Inca Quest is entertaining nevertheless, in a by-the-book kind of way.

Inca Quest

A variation on a theme rather than anything revolutionary, but still good Incan fun