'Rolando' Is What 'Loco Roco' Should Have Been

"Rolando" is what I always wanted "Loco Roco" to be.

ngmgoco:)'s latest iPhone/iPod Touch release not only looks a lot like "Loco Roco," but it plays a lot like "Loco Roco." The twist is the accelerometer.

I couldn't have been the only one who tilted their PSP while playing "Loco Roco," wishing that's how the creatures moved. In "Rolando," that's exactly what you do. There's even a few other changes to the formula along the way.

I started playing through the early bits of "Rolando" while waiting for my turn on a holiday recording of the 1UP Yours podcast. "Rolando" made me do something I've never done with my iPhone before and caused the entire room to stare at me: I flipped the phone 360 degrees. One early stage requires careful maneuvering of the environment by rotating the phone around itself over and over again. I have slippery hands; this could be dangerous in the future.

Thanks to iPhone Blog.de for the video!

The motion controls aren't perfect. Like almost every other iPhone game I've played relying on the accelerometer, there are plenty of instances where the game doesn't respond how I think it should. These issues can be patched in later -- "Super Monkey Ball" was -- but the nature of motion controls means the experience will vary person-to-person. Most of the time, I found "Rolando" fine to control. We'll see how that changes in the more complicated scenarios.

On top of all that, "Rolando" has its own in-game achievements system, something ngmoco:) has told me they hope to proliferate across all of their iPhone titles. It'd be nice if developers could talk to one another and make that a platform-wide feature. But it's still nice to beat a top time and get a little trophy for it, even if it means nothing.

ngmoco:) also told me "Rolando" wold be a $29.99 game if it was on the PSP. That's totally true. The amount of content that's in here justifies a higher price tag than it currently has: $9.99. But that's the beauty of Apple's application store; there's so much competition, companies are forced to price low, incentivizing gamers to try something new.

"Rolando" isn't really that new, but its unique twists let it rise above that stigma.