Rotastic is a fun little 2D arcade game for Xbox Live and PSN. You play though seven worlds containing around seventy levels in total, collecting gems, destroying blocks and occasionally doing so against an opponent. You do this by swinging around the screen, ricocheting off walls, building momentum and generally trying to avoid the many hazards that populate each level.

If Rotastic excels in any area it’s in the simplicity of its mechanics. Most actions are dealt with by the A button (I played the Xbox 360 version). When I say most actions, there is really only one: grapple. When you press and hold A you grab on to the nearest grapple point and start swinging around it. You can change the direction you swing in by pressing either of the bumper buttons. You build momentum and release the grapple to throw yourself to another grapple point. That’s pretty much all there is to it. You swing around, collecting items to unlock the exit which you then have to get too. Some maps have you smashing into blocks, or even just trying to survive as long as possible.

While it starts out easy, the difficulty ramps up quickly. This is in part due to clever level design, which forces you to try new things every few stages. If you’re being introduced to something for the first time, there’s a handy video before hand explaining it to you, something that should be in more games in my opinion. Simple challenges quickly build into more complex and acrobatic puzzles that are very satisfying to solve. While there’s a good amount of variety in the levels however, the fact that all you really do is swing around means there is a degree of monotony involved.

I also feel there isn’t much re-playability in the levels. Beyond going back and trying to beat your high scores to unlock more worlds I don’t see much reason to go back at all in fact. That said, there is a fair amount of content, and it’ll take a while to burn through all of it.

Visually the game is simple, but crisp. Backgrounds aren’t overly detailed, while important gameplay elements in the foreground such as the player characters, items and grapple points are bright and colourful. This makes the game flow easier to follow but at the same time means it can be a bit bland to look at.┬áThe soundtrack is catchy but might start go through your head after a while. It reminds me of Crash Bandicoot in terms of style. Besides the announcer, there isn’t much voice work.

A multiplayer component where you race to collect gems or fight to the death adds life and is actually quite fun to boot. I just wish there was som kind of difference between the playable characters besides the obvious visual differences.

If you’re into light hearted puzzle games such as Peggle then Rotastic is an excellent purchase for you. If you want to try something a little different then Rotastic could be worth a look. It’s a quality game, with an interesting game mechanic that is simple enough for anyone to use, but develops enough depth that it can be quite challenging in later stages.

 

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