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! =)