When faced with a menace of ghouls, goblins and other creeps, there is only one thing to do. Yes, we need to bomb them. Johnny K and his team return with another chapter in their "kill the evil smileys" series, Roly-Poly Monsters. Armed with a Halloween theme and the best graphics the series has seen yet (note that it is slightly grotesque with animated blood splatters and grisly monsters), this might be the most polished and yet most controversial entry to Roly-Poly-dom.
Not to be confused with Nitrome's Roly Poly, where you rotate a level to help a critter through a maze, this Roly-Poly is all about destruction. In the original game you shot cannonballs at little smiley-inspired monsters, timing the explosions and trying to use the most conservative number of bombs to do the job. The sequel followed the same idea but included good guys that cost you a penalty in points if you hit them. Then Roly-Poly Eliminator changed the game plan: instead of shooting bombs, you had to remove blocks from the level in the right sequence and timing in order to kill all the round smileys.
In a way Roly-Poly Monsters is a mixture of everything that came before it. Ghouls and worse are roaming the neighborhood, and you have to destroy them. The bombs are back, but instead of using a cannon you drop them from the top. This combines the subtle timing mechanics of both Eliminator and Cannon: bombs have to be dropped in the right sequence and at the right pace, because you have a limited supply. At the start this is fairly simple, but soon you have to suss out the nuances of a level, knowing exactly when to drop a bomb for the perfect killing spree. With the right chain reaction, those monsters quickly return to the bloody pulp of myths.
Analysis: Roly-Poly Monsters is remarkably different from the series, not only with its gameplay style but also in how it looks and sounds. The music is very catchy, despite the same cheery track constantly looping. The little characters are far more animated than previously seen, reacting to bombs near them in unique ways. Sometimes they just do stuff while loitering, such as the vampire who changes to a little round bat from time to time. It is also considerably more macabre, thanks to cartoon graphics showing people hanging from trees, not to mention the Rolys that explode with a splatter of blood. The game is not outright gory, but it has its moments. Visually it is a huge leap from the previous games, but that new look and feel comes at a price...
The ante is raised every level. The most common method is to use props like chains holding bombs or monsters, rolling stones that can shunt characters, moving platforms that require timing for hit-or-miss moments and more. Timing is another such trick — some levels let you drop bombs at your leisure, only worrying about the timer reducing your score, while other levels require you to release them at a specific pace. It might be to time the drop of a monster or bomb, or it could be to catch a platform at a specific moment. RPM's levels tend to vary a lot, though the overall complexity never really takes a leap up. That said, it is not frustrating and quite engaging.
It's not clear if the physics engine was upgraded between Roly-Poly Monsters and previous games, but there are some lag issues on lower-end machines. Turning off the sound helps smooth things out, but RPM is definitely demanding in its fidelity, causing a marked slow-down if you are low on system resources (or simply have an inadequate rig). Given how accurate the game wants you to be in both speed and drop precision, this can become a frustrating issue. A clear browser with few additional windows open gave no real issues, but you probably won't sneak this one into a power-surfing session.
Another problem lies in the level design. You get point bonuses for every bomb you do not use, but often a level has a very specific sequence that ensures success. The margin for error is very small and sometimes the physics engine works against you. Characters simply might not roll in the right direction. Obstacles might not slump correctly. In one case the perfect sequence went asunder as two colliding characters managed to roll out of a bomb's blast radius, forcing a level reset, yet the next time using the same sequence the level cleared perfectly. This might be due to the lag or it's just a small random charm in the design. But know that sometimes things just won't go the way you want. No level is so spiteful that you couldn't move on, but in some cases luck seems to have a lot to do with getting a good score.
Still, Roly-Poly Monsters deserves a lot of patience for two reasons: it looks good and it is a clear evolution in the series. Johnny K and his team could just have made a prettier version of Ragdoll Cannon or Eliminator, but instead they mixed the two up and added what counts as far more than just a coat of paint. There are some optimization issues and the next upgrade ought to be a serious revamp of the physics code, but if your browser doesn't get the stutters and you have the patience for trial-and-error, give it a try.
(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)
Roly-Poly Monsters Walkthrough
Monsters have invaded the town and it is up to you, your bombs and physics to clean things up! Lucky for you, then, that we are seasoned monster killers in Roly-Poly Monsters (RPM).
How it works: RPM is all about timed carnage. By dropping bombs in the right sequence and at the right times, you can kill all of the monsters in the stage. But run out of bombs before you run out of monsters and you lose. RPM uses various physics elements as part of its puzzles: sliding platforms, rolling stone balls, swinging chains and more contribute to the inertia of a character.
The numbers on the images point to where the bombs should be dropped, but in the game you cannot pass the red line at the top, so the numbers indicate the bomb's finally resting place, not the position of your cursor.
Pushing a character off the side of the screen also counts as a kill, so keep an eye out for such opportunities.
Inertia (the continual movement of an object due to a lack of resistance) plays a big role here, so characters and objects will keep moving once they start to roll and they will start other characters rolling as well when they connect. Keep that in mind for well-timed drops on clusters of enemies.
You get a bonus for every bomb you do not use, though some stages cannot be completed with less than the bombs you have.
The game is a bit intensive on your processor, so try to have as few browser windows open as possible. Turning off the sound effects and music also speed up the game.
You'll notice that we say 'should', 'might' and other such words a lot. This is not a reflection on our lack of self-confidence. The physics in the game can sometimes not go the way you expect, disrupting a sequence. This is more obvious on some puzzles than others. Simply put: just because it didn't work the first time doesn't mean you did it wrong. Murphy is just screwing with you.
This is simple, but you have to watch out for the stack of blocks next to the pumpkin and nurse. These can move and if they fall wrong they will block off the Frankenstein at the bottom. The yellow blocks are destroyed by bombs.
Drop a bomb on the lollypop guy.
Drop a bomb between the two monsters on the far left.
Drop a bomb on top of the remaining yellow blocks. This should blow away one block.
Drop the fourth bomb on the remaining yellow block, as close to the last mosnter as you can.
This one is pretty easy. Note that it introduces the chain.
Drop a bomb between the pumpkin and what one presumes is a biker from hell.
Drop a bomb at the top near the vampire's chain. This will propel him and the nurse into the far right corner, next to the zombie and the bomb.
This stage introduces the sliding blocks. Dropping a bomb next to them shunts them in the opposite direction, usually giving a monster a well-deserved nudge. The aim is to hit the monster into the spinning wheel with the best timing.
Drop a bomb next to the Goth-looking monsters block as soon as the level starts. He'll blast into the wheel and sit there.
Drop the second bomb next to the... who knows what that pink thing is? Next to its block. Time it roughly to when the arm the goth is sitting on is closest to the corner of the steel bar above the pink thing's head.
Introducing the pyramid! Pyramids mean the game wants you to drop a bomb there so as to propel it at an angle.
Drop a bomb on the pyramid. It will blow away the yellow block and kill the zombie.
Drop a second bomb int he same spot. It will kill Frankie and push a block to the left, ultimately sending the cyclops to its demise.
Drop a third bomb on the same spot again, now killing the guy with the club.
Drop a bomb down the top of the chute, killing the nurse.
More chains. Depending where you blow up a chain can affect how it moves. Drop a bomb in the middle of one and it will disintegrate. But drop it on the side anchor...
Drop a bomb between the nurse and Frankie, right on top of the middle anchor. The anchor should be destroyed, flinging the two monsters into Brains and Cyclops respectively. They will touch the bombs near them and Kaboom!
Drop a bomb next to the pink monster.
Drop a bomb next to the sack monster.
The first stage to show some of the timing tricks. It also introduces the coffin, which can be blown up.
Drop a bomb next to the yellow block. Blowing it up will let the platform move further left.
Drop a bomb between the vampire and the coffin. Time this to when the moving platform, going left, had just passed the hanging bomb. The bomb will fall between the two monsters at the bottom
Drop a bomb between the two monsters on the platform.
This is one of the stages where we are sure there is a better way to do it, but here's the simple road...
Drop a bomb on the yellow block, blowing it up.
Drop a bomb between one group of monsters.
Drop a bomb between the second group of monsters.
Introducing the bloody wheel, which seems to work like a regular wheel...
Drop a bomb next to the wheel. It will push the bottom monsters into the bomb and take care of them.
Drop a bomb against lollypop guy.
Drop a bomb next to the monster on the coffin. Note that there is a sweetspot here that will kill both him and the zombie in the hole. Mind, we only found this specific spot once.
Drop a bomb on the zombie.
Introducing the stone ball, which is like the bloody wheel, except it's a ball and not bloody. This stage exposes one of the game's flaws. You can drop the same bomb at the same spot and at the same time every go, but you might not kill all the monsters. The physics that blow apart the structure in the middle can sometimes push a monster out of the blast radius. Your best move then: click 'reset' and try again.
Drop a bomb through the gap that opens up on the right., Drop it just as the platform touches the right-hand blocks. This should cause a chain reaction, killing all of the monsters.
Okay, you will need four bombs, but just repeat step one three times.
Drop the bomb between the two monsters. Drop it too late and the right-hand monster will be outside of the blast. To get the right spot, drop the bomb just as the windmill moves out of the X position.
Another simple case of timing: knock the stone ball across the moving platform to hit all the monsters on the far side.
Drop a bomb here. Timing: wait for the platform to move up. Once it is aligned with the wooden bar in the background, bombs away!
Another wildcard level. You can do this with as many or as few bombs as you like, but if the collapsing structure obscures some monsters after the chain reaction, just reset and try again.
Drop a bomb between two of the pyramids - any side, though left has been lucky for us. It should start a chain reaction that blows the structure apart. If done right the vampire will go flying off the screen and the last three monsters will be grouped together for a second bomb.
A classic case of getting the bombs before the monsters do. The monsters on the moving platform will ignite the bombs on the sides when they reach them, so those are your first targets.
Drop a bomb on the right yellow block.
Drop a bomb on the left yellow block.
Drop a block on the top chain - wait for the platform to be clear and try and wedge it next to a monster on the left, as the chain rotates clockwise. The monsters will drop down and ignite the bottom bombs.
Drop a bomb between the two monsters on the moving platform.
Ah, a level that requires speed and agility! So do the first three steps right after each other and get ready to drop the fourth!
Drop a bomb next to the top block.
Drop a bomb next to the middle block.
Drop a bomb next to the bottom block.
Drop a bomb down the ramp. The bomb explodes before it reaches the bottom, so you have to time it perfectly to meet the monsters half way. If all works out, drop the bomb as soon as the top two monsters meet up with the skeleton. It should reach them as they hit the ramp. Miss one, though, and you'll have to reset.
Time for a chain reaction - a real one!
Drop a bomb next to one of the pumpkins. The blast should destroy it and loosen the chain, which will whip two of the monsters the the middle hanging platform.
Drop a bomb next to the remaining pumpkin. The same thing happens.
Drop a bomb on the group in the middle. The explosion should ignite the bottom bombs.
Drop a bomb down the gap next to the chain. Be careful that the chain is swinging away, else it can slow down the bombs fall, causing it to detonate before it reaches the monster.
Same step as above, just on the other side.
Introducing the kart! This obvious can move back and forth, which is what you need to crack this level.
Drop a bomb behind the kart, sending it towards the right.
Drop a bomb on the yellow block right around when the right end of the kart reaches the bottom of the ramp. This should let the zombie drop down and join the nurse on the kart.
Drop a bomb to ignite the two bombs. Land the bomb as close as possible to the two so that they will blow up in quick succession, giving the kart enough momentum to get over the small gap.
Drop a bomb down the left-hand gap - time it to drop just as the kart reaches the vampire.
There are several loose blocks that can be dislodged. the sequence of numbers is the most time-efficient way to remove them.
Drop a bomb on the second block. This should kill the nurse.
Drop a bomb on the fifth block. This should move the bloody wheel and push the brain guy and the goth into the clown.
Drop a block on the third block (from the right).
Drop a bomb next to the cyclops.
Drop a bomb to bounce against the pyramid. The perfect position: line your bomb so that two-thirds of it is on the right-hand side of the black line in the mesh.
The idea is to flip the bomb on the catapult into the monsters. Timing is key! Note that the trick is in step 2 - if either block ends up not dropping into the gap and moving the pink monster, reset and try again.
Drop a bomb next to the bloody wheel. Wait for it to roll towards the catapult.
Drop a bomb next to the left-hand block. Do this just as the wheel rolls off its block and reaches the red line. This should send the block flying into the right hand-block, dropping it in the hold and pushing the pink guy and his bomb into the two minsters in the gap next to him. Meanwhile the catapult will launch its bomb into the same gap.
Drop a bomb into the left-hand gap onto Frankie and the sack dude.
This is a tricky one. The way to a great score is how you get the bombs around the vampire to explode. Ideally get the left-hand one to blowup the chains of the other two - sending the vampire into the drink and the right-hand bomb onto the zombie. At least, that's our theory. Here's the easier way...
Balance a bomb on top of the right-chain anchor. This should ignite the right-hand bomb, which then dislodges the vampire and sends him over the edge next to the zombie.
Drop a bomb next to this rudimentary cannon. When it explodes it will send a block flying across the screen and knock the higher zombie away.
Drop another bomb into the cannon.
To take advantage of that second flying block, immediately after dropping the third bomb, drop a fourth one on the block nearest to the nurse. The flying block will knock this bomb between the nurse and pumpkin.
Drop a bomb on the remaining zombie.
Another moment of quick speed...
Drop a bomb on the left-hand anchor hold the kart. When it detonates it will release that side of the kart as well as the rope holding the zombie.
Immediately after dropping the first bomb, drop a second down the mesh chute. If you time it correctly, it will meet the zombie mid-air. If not, the zombie will be out of range of the bombs and a reset is required. Tough luck!
Lateral, but not difficult...
Drop a bomb between the two yellow blocks. Wait for the vampires to drop into the respective chutes of the cannons.
Drop a bomb behind one of the cannons. It should propel the vampire into the monster in the opposite top corner, igniting a bomb there.
Same as above, just with the other canon.
One of the most fun levels of the game!
Drop a bomb on the plank on the left. Try to get it as right-positioned as possible, to remove the plank.
Drop a bomb next to the left-hand stone ball.
Drop a bomb next to the right-hand stone ball and on top of the skeleton.
If done right, the two stone balls should be wedged into the sides of the pyramid. Drop a bomb into the gap where the plank was. This will start a chain reaction that should bump the zombie off the screen and start the voodoo guy rolling to the left.
Drop a bomb next to the brain guy just as the voodoo guy reaches him.
Time for a bit of height!
You need to explode a bomb next to the blocks cover the monsters on the far left and right side. Position your bomb at around the height of the flying monster in the background. This should bounce the block into the monster, igniting the bomb next to them.
Repeat the above, this time on the other side.
Drop a bomb next to the left-hand block, which will knock Frankie into the gap in the middle.
Repeat the above for the pumpkin dude.
Drop a bomb next tot eh vampire, killing him and shattering the coffin. The nurse should drop through the gap and join her fellow monsters.
Finish them! Drop a bomb through the gap.
We suspect there is a profound way to do this one. We too the shoddy route. This is why we should work in government.
Drop a bomb on the left next to the bottom link of the chain.
Do the same on the right.
Drop a bomb onto the left pyramid's exposed angle. Frankie bites the dust.
Ditto for the right pyramid. C'est la vie Brain dude.
Drop a bomb between cyclops and his friend.
Do the same for the goth and the goggle guy.
Finally! The end! And this one is easy - it takes two bombs and the right timing...
Drop a bomb next to the brown block on the left. If you time it right, it will push the coffin, tip over a few blocks and kickstart the bombs at the bottom. timing: drop the bomb just as the moving platform hits the bottom of its descent.
Drop the remaining bomb on that pesky goth.
Posted by: James Francis | December 22, 2009 4:48 AM