Rotastic is probably going to be one of those games that gets overlooked because of the amount of other new games coming out right about now, and that is a shame.
With retail games such as Gears of War 3, Rage and X-Men: Destiny; and downloadable titles like Renegade Ops and Burnout CRASH, Rotastic isn’t a title that most players will be willing to splash the cash on. Those who overlook it may be missing out on a quirky game with lots to offer.
The great thing about Rotastic is its simplicity. A puzzle game at heart, the idea is to navigate the screen and collect gems. This is done by swinging your character around using a grappling rope and using your momentum to move from one end of the screen to the other. The game does a great job of showing you the ropes (sorry!) and teaching you tricks to enable safe passage through the stages.
Each stage has hook points dotted around the screen. By pressing the A button, you will grapple on to the nearest one and then swing around that point in a rotation motion. Using your momentum, you then let go and swing to another point and latch onto that. There is no ground to land on and by dropping of the screen, you will lose a life. The only other buttons you will use will be the L & R bumper buttons, as they enable you to switch the direction in which you are swinging.
Most of the gems are patterned in such a way that you only need to swing across the screen maybe once or twice, but the challenge in the game is to perfect the art of swinging so that you can smoothly collect all the gems without wasting any unnecessary time. At the end of each stage you will be graded bronze, silver or gold and be shown where you rank in the world, or against your friends. This promotes the replaying of levels, as I often found myself retrying them just to see if I could get a better medal or improve my ranking. The only problem with replaying a level is that you become subject to the really annoying announcer guy, who says pretty much the same thing at the start of every stage. He has a voice that really starts to grind on you after a little while.
As you progress through each stage and world (there are seven worlds, each with about ten stages), the game starts to throw other obstacles, challenges and enemies in the way. Some of the stages will just involve you surviving for one minute while saw blades or battering rams move about the screen. Hitting one of those will result in failing the challenge. Other stages will require you to bash down wooden objects in order to collect every gem. There are also battle stages, where you will be pitted against other characters, and you will be tasked with collecting more gems than your opponent in the allotted time. This is very much how the multiplayer aspect of the game works.
The multiplayer mode (which is called “Combat”) has both online and offline options and this is a godsend, because at the moment there aren’t many people playing online. The idea is for each player to pick a character and then collect the most gems in a stage. You can hit other players, or cut their ropes by hurling your player in to theirs. It is fun and frantic and is probably best played together on the couch. You can have up to four people play, but if you don’t have that many, you can set the other players as AI controlled.
Rotastic is a gem of a game and will only set you back 800msp. It is also one of those games that are great if you just want a quick burst of gameplay, but will often hook you in for more of a lengthy sitting. With its simplistic but challenging gameplay, Rotastic will welcome you, no matter how adept you are at puzzle games.
Review copy provided by publisher.