Before there was Cobacoli, there was Roll, a game of balls, angles, spikes and terrain. Roll represents author Ben Gillibanks' first foray into our Casual Gameplay Design Competitions, where its combination of classic gameplay and delicious presentation carried it to the final round of judging.
You're put in control of a medium-sized yellow ball with a mission: destroy the enemy red orbs! It's like McCarthyism all over again! Click the mouse to launch the yellow ball in the direction of the pointer, holding the button down for more power. Use the yellow ball like a cue ball to knock the red balls into spikes or holes. There's a timer, so be fast, but be careful too – you are just as susceptible to the dangers as the red balls! Ice and conveyor belts add another layer of complexity, in ways that are both helpful and hindering.
Analysis: Roll doesn't exactly break a lot of game design molds, but it's a lot of fun to play nonetheless. The control scheme is about as intuitive as you can get, and it's very helpful to be able to redirect yourself before coming to a stop. With a little practice, you'll be able to stop on a dime, even on the frictionless ice. Plus, the ability to control your power gives players multiple options when deciding how best to execute a level – would long, deliberate strokes be appropriate or does this one call for rapid directional bursts?
Although there is no save feature, its fast pace lets you zoom through the first dozen or so of the twenty levels without too many muttered epithets. Still, it might be nice to have a checkpoint halfway through the game, or at least implement a high score board so that there'd be a reason to play all the beginning levels over again.
Roll comes to us with a high level of polish with regard to the visual and audio presentation, especially considering the development timeframe. Although the audio loop is short, it took quite a long time before it began to wear on me, and the pixel art is well-executed and pleasing. The physics seem pretty accurate too, with no collision detection problems.
Cheers to Ben for executing a fun, fast-paced, and all-around impressive game.
An updated version of the game is available to play at Ben's Binary Sun website.