We’re reaching a breaking point here people. Seriously, just how many cute physics-based puzzle games can the App Store take? It’s getting to be a bit much. But the developers behind Roll in the Hole are hoping there’s room for at least more. And while the game is certainly cute and somewhat fun, it does little to justify its existence in this terribly overcrowded market.
You control a chubby little panda with a taste for popsicles (which the game inexplicably calls lollipops). Unfortunately, a big mean monkey has stolen your treat, so it’s off to find him and get back what’s rightfully yours. This amounts to making your way through a series of levels spanning several differently-themed worlds.
The ultimate goal in each stage is to reach the portal at the end, which brings you on to the next stage. But, as always, the real challenge is in collecting all three items (in this case popsicles) scattered about the level. You don’t have to collect them all to proceed, but you will need a certain number to unlock subsequent worlds. You also get a score bonus based on how quickly you complete a level though, strangely, there’s no timer to let you know how fast you’re going.
Who’s endangered now?
Controls are ridiculously simple. Tap the left side of the screen and the panda rolls right, tap left and he goes left. That’s it. The trick is in balancing the panda so that he can nab popsicles or avoid falling off the edge of the screen. And there’s the usual assortment of obstacles to contend with: moving platforms, spiky ledges, bouncy floors, that sort of thing.
It just all feels so familiar. It’s not that Roll in the Hole is necessarily bad. In fact, it has one feature each and every one of these games needs: the option to skip a stage and come back later. But other than that, there’s just nothing really new here. The set-up has been done so many times before and the only unique aspect– the controls– isn’t particularly remarkable. Actually, the game might even feel better if tilt controls were used instead.
So here’s the thing: people keep on buying these formulaic iOS puzzlers, and if you’re one of them, you’ll enjoy Roll in the Hole. It ticks all the boxes, with its whimsical visuals and challenging but-not-too-difficult gameplay. But it really doesn’t do enough new to warrant passing over older, and in most cases better, titles that are already out there.