Rotastic Xbox 360
You see some really strange stuff in video games; foxes flying spaceships, monkeys rolling around in balls, and bears flying around with birds in their backpacks. So a Viking swinging and bouncing around collecting jewels is no big deal in the weirdness stakes. Throw an elf, a wild boar, and even Death himself into the mix and it still isn’t that strange.
So, Rotastic isn’t that peculiar with its cast of characters and their antics, but it is quite fun. The basic premise is quite simple, just swing around the screen from points dotted around, and pick up the gems placed around the points. It’s nice and easy to start with, with nothing to kill you other than falling off the bottom of the screen. But it soon ups the ante with walls to bounce off of, or break down, making things a little trickier. Nothing to worry about at this stage though really, but by now you’ll probably noticed the time limit, and how many lives you get. At this stage all there is to gain is bonus points, not a problem until later on.
After you finish the first World things start to get a bit more varied, and levels start to include other objectives. There’s a nice bird-based level, bash a stork hovering in the middle of the screen and you’ll release little chicks that fly off in all directions. Bash these and they release chains of jewels around the hanging points to collect. It’s a nice fun level, and it is a recurring one, in later versions you’ll get multiple storks, and some of them will release deadly bats as well as chicks. There’s plenty more variety though, you’ll get survival levels, where you just have to last until the time runs out, and boss battles too.
Boss battles are good, usually coming at the end of a world, and they pit you against other computer controlled characters, and even these are varied. Sometimes you’ll have to collect more jewels than your opponent, others you will have to kill them so many times to open the level exit. There’s loads more to contend with though, the game just keeps throwing stuff at you as you progress, and most of it is deadly. Mechanical hazards you can look forward to include spinning blades, crushing presses, moving walls composed of chainsaws, razor blades, and many more.
A lot of the mechanical stuff just comes at you out of your control, but later in the game switches and levers come into play allowing you to move stuff around, or deactivate it completely. There’s other things I haven’t mentioned yet, like the giant flying fish, and probably plenty more I haven’t seen yet, as the game does get incredibly challenging in later Worlds.
There is a problem in the single-player game that’s partially related to the game’s difficulty, progression and tedium being the main issue. New worlds are opened up by helmets, curiously in the shape of moose heads, and you earn these helmets by completing levels. They come in three colours (Bronze, Silver and Gold), and how well you do dictates how many you get. The problem is once you complete World Five the game starts asking for a ridiculous amounts of ‘helmets’ to go any further. It encourages you to replay levels to improve your score, which is sort of a good thing, but I’d rather replay levels because I want to, not because I have to.
There is a multiplayer element for when you want to take a break from the challenging single-player campaign too, but it’s local only sadly. The multiplayer is basically the boss battles from the single-player campaign played against friends. It’s fun for a time, but would have been better if it was online. If you’ve got no one at home to play with you can play against a computer controlled opponent, but this just isn’t as fun, and you’ll soon be back to having another crack at the single-player. The game really would have benefited from added variety to its multiplayer components, or even a co-op mode for the single-player, as it is it feels a bit tacked on.
As puzzlers go this is a pretty decent effort, good fun for a while, but it does start to feel a bit too much like hard work as you near its end. If you could have just opened up new worlds as you completed the last one then it would be better, instead of the helmet system. But it’s still worth a go if you like your arcade-style puzzlers. Not to mention, it definitely won’t break the bank at 800MS Points.