The Daily Click ::. Downloads ::. Review
I spent the weekend in my home town last weekend, and a 1.5 hr plane flight there and back meant I had some quality time with my iPad and this fantastic new addition to the app store.
From the moment I pressed the icon I was greeted with some charming intro credits and titlescreen. I immediately felt a warm sense of nostalgia flood through me, despite never having played this game in my life. The title screen also boasts a very decent number of menu options (which include the option to optimise the button positions for iPad - a very nice addition).
In terms of story, Polyroll uses the generic "something dear to you is captured and you must go and save it" template like many other games of its genre. This "less-is-more" approach works well in the games favour, considering its platform. iOS gamers won't want to be bogged down by a story they won't really remember (since they only tend to play games in small intervals), so Polyroll has made the right decision here.
Virtual buttons can be tricky at the best of times, and while it is still inferior to a joypad, Polyroll really does a great job with touch controls. I found the game very easy to get used to, the character controlled flawlessly. The gameplay can be described as a more simplified version of the original Sonic games. The fact that it is less complex than the sonic games most certainly works to it's advantage given the platform. I personally found this game alot more easy to handle than the iOS ports of the Sonic games. The pace the game is played however, is a lot more like mario games. For the vast majority of the game, Polyroll plays nearly perfectly. The different shield powerups were a nice touch, and, though I felt they could have been a little more used, I enjoyed the small bonuses that could be found by reaching parts of the level with a certain powerup. No game is flawless, Polyroll is no different. There were a few things here and there I felt could have been tweaked, but none were anything near enough to significantly detract from my enjoyment of the game. For starters, at some points I felt the game was too hard when only starting with one heart. I rarely ever had more than three hearts on me and when I went below three hearts I rarely ever got back to that many. Perhaps a mid-level checkpoint, a slightly longer recovery period or having 2 hearts as default could have improved this. Other minor issues for me included enemy projectiles travelling through walls and the hard-to-judge falling icicle sections, but I should note, these issues were so minor that it really didn't make me like Polyroll any less.
Polyroll has charm - as I have said already, and the graphics are largely responsible for this. Everything looks very consistent in terms of style and quality - and it all looks nice and retro. The bosses in-particular really look fantastically sprited. It certainly won't push your iOS device to the extreme, but that's not what defines good graphics (although many gamers these days seem to think otherwise). As I've said previously, sometimes less is more, sometimes simple is better. Polyroll looks fantastic, and I really hope "modern gamers" don't dismiss it because it's visual style isn't "this generation". The only piece of constructive-criticism I can offer in terms of graphics is probably that I felt the main player didn't have much character. I know this works for the nature of the game, but it would have been nice to perhaps give him a few more animation. I always loved the little idle animations in the Sonic games, how he would tap his foot and check his watch. It gave him a lot of attitude and it was a very nice touch. The same sort of touch that could have worked well here.
Retro sound effects and music compliment the retro graphics of Polyroll. There's not much to say except that the music is always fitting, always catchy, and always retro.
With 28 levels, some only accessible after finding a certain number of hidden gems in the other levels, Polyroll offers a lot of replayability. I myself, am yet to find all the gems, but I enjoyed the game so much I am looking forward to finding these often cleverly hidden and often powerup-utilising gem hiding places.
Overall, Polyroll is not only a fantastic addition to the Click Community, but a fantastic addition to the appstore. While there are a million other apps out there, and while it doesn't necessarily try anything new or innovate, Polyroll is still one of the best platformers I've played on iOS and makes the most of the iOS devices buy not trying to at all :). It is highly worth the $1.99 asking price.
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