The first level - 'Just Dig'.
The first level - 'Just Dig'.

Originally an Amiga exclusive, developed by DMA design (later becoming Rockstar North) was met with an exceptional reception and was quickly ported to many different platforms. A puzzle game that requires players to direct a group of green haired, blue-shirted, lemmings from point A to point B. The game is based on the myth that lemmings migrate in large groups and follow a single leader, who would often lead them off a cliff to their demise. In the game, lemmings constantly march in one direction unless they run into an obstacle, at which point they turn around and walk the other way. Being fearless and unaware of their own mortality, the lemmings will blindly run into fire, jump off cliffs, become crushed and fall victim to numerous other pitfalls.

The player must command the lemmings to do certain tasks in order to complete each stage and get a certain percentage of lemmings to safety. These actions include digging, using a pick axe to dig diagonally, using their arms (windmill style) to punch horizontally through terrain and building staircases to traverse large gaps.


All levels in Lemmings consist of at least one entrance, and at least one exit. The aim in each level is to safely get an allocated amount of lemmings towards an exit. Obstacles; such as water, deadly traps and great heights will hinder the lemmings' progress.

There are 120 levels in total, split into four difficulty ratings - Fun, Tricky, Taxing, and Mayhem.


There are eight different skills available for the lemmings to carry out. Each level has a different selection and amount of abilities available. Different situations require the use of different skills.

Several lemmings using the 'floater' skill.
Several lemmings using the 'floater' skill.

The skills are:

  • Climbers - Climbers will climb a vertical surface until they reach the end of the surface.
  • Diggers - Diggers will dig downward vertically through any soft surface until they reach empty space impenetrable surface.
  • Miners - These will dig diagonally downward through any soft surface until they reach empty space impenetrable surface.
  • Bashers - Will dig horizontally through a wall made of any soft surface until they reach empty space impenetrable surface.
  • Builders - Will build a 12 step stairway diagonally upwards.
  • Blockers - Will stop walking and block the advances of other lemmings, causing them to reverse their course.
  • Bombers - A countdown will appear above their head, counting from 5 to 0. Upon reaching zero, they will explode.
  • Floaters - Using an umbrella, these lemmings will float down a long drop.
Lemmings being nuked.
Lemmings being nuked.

Three other types of commands can be used by the player, these are:

  • Drop rate - The player may increase and decrease the rate in which lemmings fall from the entrance.
  • Pause - The player may temporarily halt the game, this mode can be used to select skills without using any extra time on the clock.
  • Nuke - If the player has reached a dead end and cannot finish the level then this button can be clicked in order to blow up every lemming on the screen.