Cracking fantasy adventure
The original Gnome Ranger was a delightfully twisted little graphic adventure from Level 9, known for classics like Knight Orc and the Time and Magik trilogy and while this sequel might not be quite up the standards of its predecessor, it remains a quirky and enjoyable little game. Ingrid, in case you don't know, is a clumsy but charming and rather intellectual gnome whose previous adventure saw her defeating an evil witch and solving a baffling riddle. This time around, it's her village which is under threat from a yuppie property developer (shades of Hitchhiker's Guide perhaps?) and it falls to Ingrid to save it from being transformed into a hideous haven for yahoos. Three paths are open to Ingrid, and which can cleverly be tackled in any order, seeing her getting a petition together, finding a more unusual approach to defeating the developer and infiltrating his manor in order to prove just how dodgy he is. These paths form three distinct quests which involve the usual array of clever puzzles and exploration, with a nice variety of unusual characters to interact with. If you have played any Level 9 games, are familiar with the genre or are a complete newcomer, you'll fit in well here, as the interface is both accessible and intuitive, making use of simple but surprisingly deep commands which allow a great variety of instructions to be issued. There's a real sense that the world you are exploring is alive and it's this which gives the game an edge over other similar titles, with its sharp, clever writing and engaging puzzles. The story isn't quite as compelling as the previous game but this is a minor quibble and it remains a first class adventure.