RollOut in review – This Isn’t A Transformers Game?

One thing I like about the App Store is that it gives developers room to experiment without a sizable budget, unlike on consoles where it might costs thousands of dollars just to get development software.  As a result we get cool little games like RollOut, a puzzle platformer with a unique premise and an old school look and sound.  The game “only” has 50 levels at the moment, but getting through it and beating the “standard” time for each level will be two entirely different challenges.

In RollOut you control Wabba, a cute little critter that just wants to move all about.  To that end you must help guide Wabba through 50 levels of platforms, each with an exit near the top of the level.  The trick is that you don’t have direct control over Wabba.  You don’t have direct control over the platforms, either.  What you do have control over is the “input” layer,  a layer of arrows pointing up and left that control when Wabba jumps and when it speeds up and slows down.

When you’re pressing on the screen the arrows become inactive.  To activate them again, simply stop touching the screen.  The layer of arrows is scrolling at a constant speed, but you can temporarily adjust that speed by dragging the screen to the left.  The input layer will basically scroll at whatever speed you’re dragging the screen.  By manipulating this “input” layer, you can in theory get Wabba to jump, speed up and slow down when you want it to.  To complicate matters there are things like areas where the arrows won’t work at all and platforms that are only available if Wabba is at its fastest or slowest speed.

The game has 50 levels, and you must exit a level in order to move on to the next one.  In order to finish the game you simply have to exit all 50 levels.  However, if you truly want to beat the game there is a base time for each level that you must beat.  You can always go back and play any level you’ve already finished, so if you want you can play through the game first and then try and truly beat it.  In addition to this the game is OpenFeint enabled with 17 different achievements to master, so there’s plenty to keep you busy for a while.

I love the visual style of RollOut.  The “shades of grey” motif – with just a hint of red and blue thrown in for the speed up / slow down colors – works quite well.  There’s something “modern Gameboy color” about the look, and while you might try and convince me that would be Gameboy Advance, there was always something different about the original Gameboy line that RollOut manages to capture in an updated way.

On the other hand, the sound effects are mostly forgettable, in large part due to the fact that they are pretty much overwhelmed by the music.  The problem with that is the music is quite forgettable as well.  Where the graphics just have a retro feel to them, the music sounds like it was actually written for a Gameboy color.  Even that wouldn’t be terrible except the it’s basically a bunch of repetitive thumping.  This is one title where I really wouldn’t mind having the option to turn the music off.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever played a platform game quite like RollOut before, and it’s nice to know that developers can actually come up with new ideas.  For anyone that likes a combination of action and puzzle, I highly suggest checking this one out.  However, be prepared to get a bit frustrated if you have a trigger finger like I do.

App Summary
Title: RollOutDeveloper: Bulkypix
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:6.2 MB
  • Original concept
  • Cute character
  • Challenging yet fun
  • Audio is forgettable

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