The Great Tree
The best way to describe The Great Tree is Asteroids with insects instead of rocks. You play the part of a faerie, collecting magic pollen to save the eponymous tree, while dodging the various wasps and bugs that come hurtling across the screen. However, there are a couple of key differences that make this a more laid-back Asteroids.
Firstly, movement is controlled directly using the mouse, so there’s no awkward thrusting mechanic to worry about; you can skip around the screen with ease. Secondly, you can only fire when a full chain of pollen has been collected, so the game’s focus is on dodging rather than blasting. This particular faerie fire comes in the form of a smart bomb, mind you, so the damage done is considerable if placed with precision.
Points are scored by depositing pollen, with score multipliers being activated for cashing in a full chain, and also for killing monsters. The multiplier constantly ticks down, however, the pace changes from slow, careful collecting and planning once some points have been bagged, to more frantic efforts to grab and blast as swiftly as possible to try to keep that score up.
Dead monsters drop various power-ups, and these are also vital for high scores. Chain lightning nukes all the bugs on screen, and the snowflake power-up freezes everything in place, so you can hoover up all the pollen without being molested. Releasing trapped creatures known as swee also grants a power-up, and rescuing enough of these boosts the stats of your faerie (allowing you to fly faster, for example).
The crux of the game is timing the use of these power-ups to make perfect chains and massive scores. There are a hundred levels to play, and even though they’re very similar, using your cunning and mouse dexterity to rack up huge bonuses always remains compelling. With its smooth controls, crisp graphics and slick presentation, The Great Tree is likely to take root in your games collection for some time.