By Nigel Wood
NGMOCO’s Rolando is one of the most hyped games for the iPhone. The developer announced it way back and has teased us with screenshots and videos of the game ever since. Well it’s here, so is it worth the hype?
I’m going to get this out of the way first, as it is a topic that many people following Rolando’s progress have discussed, and that’s it’s uncanny resemblance to the PSP’s LocoRoco! Yes it looks just like it, yes it plays very similar… and yes Sony might see it and take legal action. Of course looking like LocoRoco isn’t a bad thing, and as that game will never see the light of day on iPhone it’s not a huge problem. In fact it’s probably going to increase sales if anything. So, is it as good as LocoRoco, well, yes and I’ll even go so far to say that it may be better! And LocoRoco was a great game. Still is!
Rolando sees you controlling ball like creatures, where you must get them safely to the exit in each level. To do this you drag a selection box over the Rolando, and once highlighted you can tilt the iPhone to roll him left or right through the environment. Flicking upward on the screen will make him jump, which is a must to reach ledges and avoid enemies. The controls work great, perfect tilt controls, and the swipes, flicks and dragging is pretty responsive. There are various jewels to collect, but the main objective is to return him home through the exit door…. there is also a time limit which, if you beat, awards you with an achievement.
Later levels require you to save multiple Rolando’s, and unlike LocoRoco, you don’t merge them into one large creature, instead controlling each one seperately or as a group. To select multiple Rolando’s you drag the selection box over the once you want to control, easy! Sometimes they are not together, so you must deselct the one’s you are controlling and with two fingers drag the level around until you find them, select them again to control them and meet up with the others. On the way you’ll meet nasty enemies which will kill you on contact. As well as a raft of jump pads, spinning gates and puzzle situations requiring you to plan out how you must use the Rolando’s around the level to get all of them home. Yellow objects can be manipulated by touch, such as rotating gates and lifts, an example of how Rolando takes the core elements of LocoRoco and takes it to the next level.
Presentation and Graphics
The presentation is top notch, though this clean 2D sidescrolling flash look has been done to death now. But it still looks great on the iPhone style (and for that it doesn’t get a 5). I particularly like the 3D, pop-up book level selection screen.
The music sounds great, with funky riffs and cute sound effects from the creatures and enemies.
Endearing characters and story… with addictive levels that have a good balance of challenges, employing great use of the smooth and responsive controls.
36 main levels, plus there’s achievements to unlock by collecting all gems and beating levels in a set time.
It’s finally here and it delivers on it’s promise. It’s top tier at $9.99, but it’s worth it. Rolando is a great game and shouldn’t be missed.