Roll: Boulder Smash comes with two gameplay modes: Story and Challenge, with Story mode taking place across nine large levels in three themed environments (a Jungle, Arctic Glacier and Desert Canyon). Each level takes anywhere from 2-4 minutes to complete, as you control a boulder that makes its way from the top of the stage to the bottom, hitting everything in its path. Most items in stages are destructible, but the larger the item, the more speed you'll need to actually destroy it. The more items you destroy on your way through each level, the more points and stars you'll earn, which go to unlock the next stage.
The boulder can be controlled either by tilting your iOS device or by using a virtual joystick. This joystick gets in the way of things more than it helps, as your thumb becomes an obstacle in and of itself that you can't see around. The tilt controls work fine for the most part, but the boulder becomes incredibly hard to control in the game's icy levels or any that contain water, as the boulder will slip and slide out of control regardless of how much you try to tame it. Furthermore, speed ramps are located in most stages, and while these do help you quickly change the direction your boulder is moving, they can also mean the difference between continuing on in a stage and falling off of a cliff if you miss one (and missing them is really easy to do).
Over in the game's Challenge mode, the game really shows off its repetition, as you're given dozens of levels to complete with very little in the way of variety. Most levels simply ask you to hit one or more of a particular item on a very short pathway. The boulder starts out stationary, and the game becomes more about timing than anything else, as you'll simply fling your finger on the screen to send the boulder in a straight line forward. The faster or more powerful the flick of your finger, the faster the boulder travels. These levels can sometimes be incredibly challenging to complete, and the game forces you to sit through a loading screen each time you wish to retry them.
While the 3D graphics in Roll: Boulder Smash are bright and fun, the aforementioned loading times are a pain, and the game can sometimes lag if there's too much destruction happening on screen at once. What's more, while the story levels are fun, we really wish there were more of them. As it stands, you can make your way through all nine stages easily in a single sitting, and are then left to either complete the inferior challenge levels or repeatedly complete these story levels to increase your score or decrease your time taken in each.
Roll: Boulder Smash has an interesting concept, and it's an entertaining experience for the most part. Hopefully, additional content packs will be released in the future that give the game more longevity, but for now, it's still a pretty nice way to spend $0.99.
Download Roll: Boulder Smash for $0.99 >
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