Updated: Rotate & Roll Review

Rotate & Roll just got an update that changes the game, so to speak. Now, instead of dragging your finger to rotate the level to make the ball roll, you use tilt. This is a much more intuitive control method, and it makes the game feel a lot more comfortable to play.

The iffy physics we mentioned originally are still a problem, although not as noticeable now that you’re rotating your phone every which way as you play the game. Also, as you edge into the later levels, some of the obstacles become incredibly tough to navigate, sometimes to the point of breathless frustration.

Still, the tilt control method makes the game feel a lot more natural and enjoyable, and we’re upping our score to reflect that.

Rotate & Roll takes on casual gaming the best way it knows how: by copying Angry Birds. But instead of mimicking the gameplay (as many other games have done), it copies everything else, from the level structure and star rewards, to the pick-up-and-play simplicity. But has Rotate & Roll managed to capture the fun of Angry Birds as well?

Not quite. In Rotate & Roll, your job is to roll one or more balls through each of the 53 levels, picking up stars on your way to the exit. But instead of controlling the ball directly, you rotate the whole level. It’s kind of like a side-scrolling version of Labyrinth. Naturally, each level is peppered with spikes and pits and complex platform set-ups that you have to navigate over and around to succeed.

Rotate & Roll & Peggle.

To control the rotation of the level, you drag your thumb up and down the right side of the screen. The sensitivity is set fairly high, so you can whip the level 360 degrees with a single swipe if you want to. Unfortunately there’s no way to change the sensitivity, so you have to use microscopic adjustments most of the time to make any progress.

A game like this lives or dies by its physics, however, and Rotate & Roll doesn’t quite cut it here. When your ball starts rolling, it’s difficult to stop, which often results in the ball careening off into space. When you rotate a level, gravity is supposed to remain constant, always pushing down toward the bottom of the screen. But gravity seems to skew as you rotate, making it hard to predict how and where your ball will tumble.

Are the physics bad enough to leech all of the fun from the game? No. But they’re fussy enough to make playing the game vaguely annoying more often than not. With dozens of other top-notch casual games on the App Store, there’s no reason to pick this one up unless you’re a die-hard ball-rolling fan. It’s too bad, because the ‘rotate the level’ gameplay idea is a fun one.

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