Roll Out, an interesting new platformer from Bulkypix, is now available from the app store. Despite the quirky control mechanism with its steep learning curve, there’s a clever gameplay core that’s worth checking out.
Roll Out Pros:
- Interesting game mechanics
- 50 levels
- Pick-up-and-play quality
- OpenFeint integration
Roll Out Cons:
- Drab look
- Annoying soundtrack
- Learning curve on controls
- No leaderboards
The main character is Wabba, a black-and-white Sonic-type animal who spends his time rolling forward. Each level sees Wabba trying to reach the warp gate goal, which is usually set several platforms high. As Wabba rolls continuously to the right, rows of arrows stream continuously to the left. The speed of the streaming arrows is controlled by swiping your finger on the screen, inactivating the arrows while your finger is on-screen and allowing you to position arrows where needed on the fly. Each time Wabba contacts one of these arrows, his path is influenced in the direction of the arrow. Most of these arrows point up, propelling Wabba a short distance in the air. Stringing together a series of arrows keeps Wabba airborne or leads him to higher platforms. Some platforms act as elevators, and landing Wabba on one will actually stop his progress while he rides the lift. Once at the top, he continues his journey. Every few completed levels introduces a new gaming aspect. There are special color-coded arrows that speed up or slow down Wabba’s progress, as well as activate color-coded platform sections. You will also encounter sections of the board where the arrows are inactivated, requiring some serious strategy. These new aspects help to keep things interesting. There are 50 levels in all, each with a target time that, if bested, rewards you with a medal.
Graphically, the game is very simplistic, with a black-and-white theme that results in a fairly dull and drab look. Bits of color are introduced with the colored arrows and colored platforms, but it’s not enough to really punch up the look. The soundtrack is a short looping track that is actually kind of annoying after a short while. Controls are touch-based and simply require you to drag your finger on the screen. While it works well enough, actually getting arrows positioned appropriately can be quite difficult and requires some focused effort. While most target scores are around the 30 second mark, we often needed a couple of minutes to complete the levels. There were plenty of instances where we’d almost complete the level only to lose most of, if not all of, our progress. Despite this, we really did enjoy our time with the game.
Replay value is middling at best. It takes no more than a couple of hours to complete the whole game. The only real reason to go back and play the levels again would be to try to earn the medals for besting the target times. There is OpenFeint integration, but surprisingly, no leaderboards to compare best times. OpenFeint is only used for the achievement system, of which there are seventeen. Most of these are tied to levels completed or medals earned. Hopefully, global leaderboards can be included in a future update, as this is a major aspect of the game that’s left to twist in the wind. For $0.99, the price is right for this intriguing 3.5-Dimple platformer.
Roll Out for iPhone: An Intriguing Platformer,