How do I describe Rolando? Hmm… it’s a game about little ball creatures, called Rolandos, (because they roll, get it?!). The purpose of the game is to move these loveable little fellas through levels filled with obstacles and bad guys. (And don’t worry, there’s no way to fight these bad guys. You can only avoid them. If you touch them, you die. Aww.) And somehow, by getting from point A to B, it’s considered a victory. Even though you never technically “defeat” the bad guys. Now, before you write this game off as “lame,” let me assure you, it’s not. In fact, it’s quite good. And… there’s even explosions in it! Yeah!
I realize that pretty much every game for the iPhone seems to have “innovative controls,” but it always sounds like the right thing to say, especially when describing this game. Tilting your phone will roll your little Rolando- while touching the screen will control other actions, like jumping or turning switches in the environment. Okay, I guess that’s not really that “innovative.” But I’m still amazed by the accelerometer and the touch screen. Technology, man- it’s crazy!
There are 36 levels that span through four different worlds. Each level has three objectives. You have to save a certain number of Rolandos, collect 1-3 diamonds, and come in under a set amount of time. You get a medal for each objective completed. Odds are- you’re going to have to play most levels at least twice. (Unless you’re like, WAY better than me.)
This is a really creative game. And it’s addictive. It reminds me just a tad of Little Big Planet in its creativeness and the fact that you have to replay levels a couple times. (Though LBP still blows everything else out of the water- you can’t beat sack puppets!) I like how the Rolandos call me, (you) “finger” because that’s pretty much all you are to them. And that’s funny. The early levels are pretty easy and instructional, which is good, unless you’re more of a sink or swim kind of cat. The levels do get a little harder as you go, which is the natural progression in most all good video games. The first world of Mario 3 is a cake walk compared to Bowser’s 8th world. (Of course, that’s a cake walk too, because I rule at Mario 3- but I digress).
The music is just as fun as the character designs. Simplistic, yet somehow perfect for what they’re trying to accomplish. (But if you’re not a fan, you can listen to your iTunes music while you play. Maybe Megadeath would be more appropriate for Fire Canyon.) I think if they had gone for more detailed graphics, it wouldn’t feel as sincere. It’s not trying to be the most polished looking iPhone game. It’s trying to be cartoony and fun. And on those levels, it succeeds.
The iSave feature is something to be thankful for too. I’ve played a lot of games on my iPhone, and often times when I’m interrupted, either by a phone call or pushing the home button while trying to take a screenshot, my game is lost. Not here. It will save your progress wherever you are, and your icon on the phone will have a number indicating how many active Rolandos you have at your saved location. Which… I guess is a good thing? I don’t know. Maybe it is- like if one is lost somewhere else in the level or something. No Rolandos left behind!
I had trouble trying to select multiple or different rolandos at times. You’re supposed to drag a box around them- but when I would try to start the box, the Rolando that was already selected would jump. And that was kind of annoying.
I also had some difficulty controlling the Royal Spikey Commando, (the little blue spiked fellow who can roll up walls). There were times when I almost had my phone at a 90 degree angle and he was barely rolling. Other times, I’d hardly tilt my phone and he’d take off like a rocket.
The time challenges on each level are really short. I mean, I know I haven’t been playing it for that long, but if you want to explore each level, (or if your stupid Rolandos jump instead of getting selected) you can forget about getting the time bonus. That must be for expert Rolandoers. (And yes, I know it’s called “challenge,” so it should be difficult, and that's part of the point of the game- Get off my back, already!)
Rolando is a breath of fresh air on the iPhone. Is it the greatest game ever? No. Is it the best game I've reviewed so far? Define "best." It's good. It's easy to figure out and play. The ten dollar price tag might seem kind of intimidating, but you get what you pay for. Honestly, I would never pay 10 bucks for a game on my iPhone. I can't justify that. If you're like me, wait for a sale. If you're not like me, and you want to play one of the best games out there, then go for it already! Just don't expect to be blown away by realistic graphics. Just expect to have fun... rolling these little ball-things around.