It is the year 2048. Berlin. The Wall has been rebuilt and tensions rise around it. Opportunistic people are trying to take advantage of the situation. Your mission: OBLITERATE THEM ALL.
The MSX version comes in two formats: a limited-edition cartridge, and a downloadable digital download that includes both the MSX and ColecoVision versions.
This is a very simple game: Radiabel, the main character, sits on top of the Berlin Wall throwing fruit at the enemies trying to climb and reach the top. She can only move left or right, and the fruit she drops falls down in a completely vertical straight trajectory. Most enemies don't move on a straight line, and many of them are quite difficult to hit because they move erratically. This means that Radiabel has to anticipate where the enemies will be in order to hit them. As the difficulty increases the game starts resembling a tennis match, with the character running from one side of the screen to the other to hit enemies before they reach the top.
We start every level with six points of energy represented by white circles at the top of the screen. We lose one of these points each time an enemy reaches the top of the wall or we hit a toxic power-up (more on this in a moment). If we lose all the six white dots then we lose a life.
After destroying a certain number of enemies we'll advance to the next level, set in a different section of the Wall, with different enemies. The wall has a total of 8 sections, and after completing the last one we'll be back at the first, but at an (much) increased difficulty level.
There are four power-ups: three of them will help us complete each level, and the other we'll have to avoid. To activate them we'll have to hit them with a piece of fruit.
Hitting it will destroy all the enemies on the screen.
Restores one of the energy points. Has no effect if we haven't lost any.
Stops time for a few seconds. Its effect becomes shorter and shorter as the difficulty increases.
The toxic power-up
Makes us lose an energy point. Avoid hitting it.
Graphics and sound
The sound is as basic as it gets. The only song is in the title screen, where we can select between one or two players, and it sounds exactly like one of those toy keyboards from the 80s that we used to play with when we were kids. During the game itself the sound is also extremely simple: enemies make noise when moving up, power-ups announce their presence with a different noise, and there are a couple other sounds whenever we hit an enemy or lose an energy point.
The graphics, however, are a completely different conversation. Each section of the wall has its own graffiti, some of them from the actual Berlin Wall (such as this one or this one), and others taken from more modern scenes, such as Linus Torvalds giving nVidia the finger. These images are all very colorful and come together with politically-charged messages.
The sprites are also colorful and full of variety. They move very smoothly, even at higher difficulty levels when there are many of them on the screen.
No need to complicate things here: MÜLLWAND has minimal hardware requirements. So minimal, that it runs on any MSX computer.
This may be a budget title, but there's nothing budget about the cartridge version. It comes in a deluxe case with a professionally-designed cover. Both the cover and the cartridge label are printed in quality paper. There is no manual, but we wouldn't need one anyway. The short instructions are printed in the back of the cover and readable through the transparent plastic of the case.
The cartridge version also includes Seleniak, a very simple shooting game released by the same group (back then under the name Guzuta) for the MSXdev'04 game competition. When the computer starts we are presented with a menu to select between the two games.
Seleniak is also a very simple game, but it recreates perfectly the feeling of those coin-ops from the 80s. We think that the most remarkable point of this game is the intro music, one of the best compositions we've heard for the PSG chip in a very long time. It also has smooth parallax scrolling and runs on any MSX computer.
Note that Seleniak isn't included in the downloadable version!
Note that these videos were captured in an emulator, and the emulation may not be completely accurate.
Overall, this feels like an actual commercial product from the 80s that has been discovered today. The only give away is the lack of political correctness (not that we miss it). Despite its simplicity, MÜLLWAND is addictive.
If you haven't already, buy it.
How to buy
The cartridge version is sold out at the time of this writing (June 7th 2017). A new batch may be produced, so keep an eye on SILICON SEX' Twitter feed (@SILICONSEX) for updates.
The downloadable version is available in their online store for a minimum price of US$10.24. You can voluntarily pay more if you feel that the content you get is worth it. This will give you access to both the MSX and ColecoVision versions.