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SolaRola

For: Android   Also on: iPhone, Mobile, iPad

The new retro

Product: SolaRola | Publisher: Square Enix | Developer: Progressive Media | Format: Android | Genre: Action, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
SolaRola Android, thumbnail 1
Things have changed considerably in the last five years. We've come to expect more of our mobile games, and gaming itself has become an essential part of the smartphone experience.

That's one of the reasons there isn't a Platinum Award glittering at the top of this review like the one that adorns our first take onĀ SolaRola from all those moons ago.

But it's more than that. The long transition from mobile to iOS has resulted in a game that, while still incredibly entertaining, has lost some of the vim and vigour that made the original so special.

Roll your own

You control a red blob called Waz, who pilots a spaceship around the stars with his blue brother Wiz. The game starts with the ship crashing, and from there walks you through the basics of play.

'Left' and 'right' arrows move Waz about the screen, and a 'jump' button propels him skywards. Each level has a goal, and none of them takes more than a couple of minutes to complete.

You'll need to roll boulders into special devices to create rocket fuel, bounce your way over pits full of orange glowing lava, and control a variety of contraptions using physics and the odd bit of brute force.

There are spiked, spinning critters to avoid, leaps to make, and bombs to push to the right place before they explode. The platforming doesn't require pixel-perfect precision, but it's challenging enough to keep you occupied.

Old skool or no skool

There's plenty of wit and whimsy thrown in for good measure, and it makes for a pleasing package all round, even if the graphics aren't quite as crisp as we've come to expect from high-end mobile games.

And that's the problem: expectation. SolaRola is an enjoyable platforming romp, but it's neither fresh nor particularly unique any more. Where five years ago its style of play made it stand out, now it's just another face in a far more crowded App Store.

That's not to say that the game isn't a lot of fun. It's well designed, clever, and it plays brilliantly. It's just lacking that spark of ingenuity that sets the very best games apart.

iOS version reviewed.
 
SolaRola
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 27 July 2012
While it's still an incredibly entertaining game, the world has overtaken SolaRola ever so slightly, and stolen some of the vigour from its platforming
 
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