iPhone It In: Rolando

Justin McElroy
J. McElroy|02.23.09

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Justin McElroy
February 23rd, 2009
iPhone It In: Rolando

Anyone who's ever played LocoRoco has been guilty of it. You just can't help but tip your PSP to the left or right, trying for that extra smidgen of incline to get your gelatinous balls of goo rolling, even though you know it has no real effect. But in ngmoco's Rolando, the controls are all about the angle of your system, and it makes for some of the most fun you can have on your iPhone.

The similarities between the two games are pretty striking. In both, players have to tilt the landscape to get adorable, anthropomorphous spheres to roll from point A to point B. The visual style is also pretty similar, so if you thought LocoRoco was too cutesy, don't expect anything less saccharine here.

But ngmoco has added its own gameplay touches. You've got royal blobs that won't follow orders, you have gates you have to manually open for your blobs, you can even split up the crew with a swipe across the screen to select the blobs you want to control. Not to mention that rotating the iPhone to tilt the land just feels better than fiddling with the PSP's shoulder buttons.

As I said, the presentation is cutesy, but it's also extremely well done. Between that and the deceptively deep gameplay, Rolando rises above a lot of the App Store chaff and feels like a full, fleshed out game more than a tech demo -- well worth the $4.99 asking price.

As has been proved so many times before, the very best iPhone games are the ones that really utilize the device's unique input methods. In Rolando, we have perhaps the most striking example yet of a game that couldn't have been done better on any other platform.
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