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Roly Poly

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Rating: 4.7/5 (29 votes)
Comments (40) | Views (6,567)
The enviably talented crew at Nitrome have just released their latest game and it's an ambitious effort to put it mildly. Roly Poly is a Flash action game of skill with a unique mechanic: Click and drag to tilt the play field and use gravity to roll the little hedgehog to the goal of each level, and within the time limit provided.

Avoid spikes, bombs, electricity and other craziness as you tumble towards the goal. Use a free fall drop when necessary to zoom past menacing traps unscathed.

You have unlimited lives, so there is no pressure to succeed with a level immediately. Some will take a few times through to get an idea of how each of the traps, obstacles and enemies behave. Use the options screen to change the quality setting lower if the frame rate is choppy or runs slow on your computer.

Analysis: As seen in their previous work, Nitrome dares to go where few other Flash game devs have gone before with respect to gameplay mechanics. Regardless of whether this is, in part, due to the inherent performance limitations of Flash, Mat, Heather and crew certainly deserve credit for pushing the Flash envelope. And while the performance was unsatisfactory on my Mac Powerbook G4, I was able to reduce the quality setting of the game running on my 1.7GHz PC to be able to enjoy the fun packed inside this addictive little game.

There is very coarse granularity in the sensitivity of how fast the hedgehog tumbles with respect to how far the play field is tilted. In other words, there are only a few different velocities to be concerned with: slow, medium and fast. And because it is a Flash game, this works to the game's advantage as it yields a forgiving gameplay mechanic. And though I would prefer tighter control paired with more accurate physics, that is probably expecting too much of the Flash platform—at least at this point in time. Besides, the mechanics and physics in this game seem well paired together for the game play experience it offers.

Performance issues aside, everything about this game is commercial quality from the animations and sound to the design of the menus and the unlockable levels of increasing difficulty. Excellent work. Fun and addictive to boot. Let's roll! =)


ShadowDragon June 13, 2006 3:16 PM

For some reason, when I go to the link in the image as soon as the game loads I get a message saying 'This game has been url locked', and I can't play. Any idea why?


ShadowDragon - You must set your browser to allow pop-ups from Nitrome, as they have the URL protected against content theft.


You can also click on the "Roly Poly" link on the left side on the Nitrome side to play the game in the same window.

DataSlayer June 13, 2006 3:39 PM

Is it me or is lvl 15 flawed? I haven't been able to pass this lvl with the given amount of time. The electricity takes to long to move thru the level... Anyone else experience this?


I've been through level 15 without difficulty. Try a lower quality setting, it may improved the performance and speed up the bolts of electricity.

DataSlayer June 13, 2006 3:58 PM


Yea, I think that is what it was. Once I lowerd the quality, I was able to get thru no prob!


I enjoyed it. Got pretty far (into the hard levels) before it got pretty frustrating.

I've got a 1.83GHz toshiba laptop and I still had to reduce the quality to really grasp the gameplay mechanics. If it played more like other rolly-shifty type games that I have seen, it'd be juuuust right.

Good find, Jay!

DataSlayer June 13, 2006 4:26 PM

Sweet! Beat all 30 lvls, and got 2nd place in scores!

Kristen June 13, 2006 4:35 PM

Good game, though the game was rather slow unlesss you reduced the quality. Also, sometimes my mouse was shaky or something, which made it a little harder. It was nice how there weren't lives or anything, and you had as many chances as needed.

Garwain June 13, 2006 4:39 PM

Cute game, original gameplay. But I have tried to make it run smoothly with everything i could come up with, and it still runs... funny. Some levels were easier on high quality, others on low quality... pretty bizar.


free motion sickness!


it won't let me play it says this is url blocked, but i hear the game music, help me!!


avi - you can either set your browser to allow pop-ups from Nitrome, or, just click the Roly Poly link on the page that comes up. Hopefully Mat at Nitrome will fix this soon.


no sry, i dont like it!!!

the gamee is running as on a 20 years old machine ... i dont like it this was

L' thumb down


Woot! Numbah ten on high score! Now gotta try for some better times. :D

A great game. I also had trouble with lvl 15 until I realized that I needed to lower my quality.


I haven't seen a game like this before and I thought it was a very cool idea. Pretty challenging and pretty frustrating, but still fun. Nice find!


Yeah! I kept redoing things and worked my way up to number 2 :D


I dunno if there's a bug, but for 15 I was able to roll through the first bolt of lightning when it was rotating around to go to the second row. Was a piece of cake.


OMG U-TURN @#$^@$%


It's not a unique mechanic -- Nintendo's released a couple of GameBoy games that use an integrated tilt sensor in the cartridge to alter gravity in the gameworld, and Sony's upcoming PSP game LocoRoco also controls the main character by tilt. But this game does go farther in giving you full 360-degree rotation. It's a shame it's such a CPU hog, though. Why should a bit of coordinate transformation bring a 1.5GHz processor to its knees?


The actual core mechanic in this game is the click-drag-rotate of the play field with the mouse. It's the action that the player does over and over again.

Those other games use different core mechanics, such as physically tilting the game play device.

The performance problem here is Flash, which is quite easy to bring to its knees with even the slightest heavy lifting.


As has been noted by others, this is yet another game ruined by the use of a realtime time limit used in conjunction with a framerate-based task. Even with Flash set at low quality, I am just barely able to make it halfway through level 15 before the timer reaches zero.

Seeing as the team behind this game pretty clearly has quite a bit of Flash savvy, why did they miss this one, common flaw?


This plays just like Circulate! So it's not that new, but it's free and it plays great!

baba44713 June 18, 2006 4:36 PM

I agree completely with the comments above.

The game is great, the gameplay mechanics are really quite new and fresh and the game is cute and challenging. It has all the ingredients of the perfect game except the performance, which makes the game frustrating and unecessarily punishing at later levels. Even at low quality setting the game runs quite choppy which is really bad for the game that relies so much on subtle movements and quick reflexes.

Also, some levels are REALLY badly designed. Levels 15 and 24 for instance, they are really more of a chore than anything else.

Anonymous June 21, 2006 5:02 PM

The game's good...does anyone know any cheats? BTW, I love Nitrome games. ^^


Level 15 is impossible! I've lowered thw quality, still wont work.


I sped through all the levels, but now on level 23 I have a problem trying to beat the time. It's because of the fact the hundred little doors keep opening and closing and if you are not there at the right time..you get stuck for 4 seconds


Can someone give me help or a walkthrough for the game? Or at least level 3? I need help on that level!


Hey! I don't understand how it's possible to get through level 8! I can get both keys but I cant get the to the ends of the level!
Can someone tell me how they did it?


Does anyone know any realllllyyyyy good cheats for roly poly? i'm stuck on the hard levels. Please help!!!




help in the level 15 pleaseee

MintyGreen January 23, 2007 12:01 PM

Level 15 is easy :3 Takes a while but easy.

Just stay between the two bolts of lightning, tilting only slightly so you move slowly and at an even pace between them. I always waited a bit before I went down a gap, wait until the first bolt is out of the way because you will move quicker when dropping (obviously xD)


Finally played through the game completely. Very fun although a bit slow (and sometimes I wish the bolts of lightning were better defined lazer beams). Got a final score of Diane Rehm...
whoops wrong paste...I meant to say 916,796


Level 15: Quality is set to low; sound off. I've got no problem navigating to the end - but it is simply not possible given the time. On the last leg, I would require 6 or 7 more seconds to actually arrive at the finish. What's going on? Is it a browser thing and, if so, shame.


Please can someone help me with number 12..i REALLYYY cannot do it one bit! help me pleaseeee


lili stay in between them and turn with them

ganondorf champion May 28, 2008 9:06 PM

help for level 24 please

Visitor July 6, 2008 5:57 AM

Does anyone have any help for Level 24, "Bumpy Ride"?


Will somebody please post a walkthrough or something for help on level 26? I've tried and tried for 3 days. It is getting a little tiring!
-emily :)

by the way...

what is the next nitrome game that is going to come out? I'm not sure what it is, but I need some new games!


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