We had a chance to sit down with Simon Oliver of Hand Circus to get a personal demo of Rolando 2: The Golden Orchid at ngmoco’s WWDC party, a short distance from the convention center. From what we’ve seen so far, the second Rolando entry is looking great as it heads into the development home stretch.
A lot of resources went into the first Rolando, a critical darling that still looks pretty good six months after release. But Oliver and company have stepped up their game in every way for the sequel. In fact, the Rolando maestro went so far as to relocate to ngmoco’s San Francisco offices for the last three weeks to work on wrapping the game.
‘This project took five months from start to finish, part of which I’ve spent in San Francisco working with the ngmoco team,’ Oliver told us. ‘As soon as the game is finished, I’m going to Hawaii for a few weeks and not thinking about anything to do with Rolando!’
That vacation has been earned. The tilt-and-swipe platforming is largely the same in Rolando 2, but everything around it seems to have grown up to join next-gen iPhone gaming. For instance, the level select screens are now in full 3D. So are the backgrounds, which are multi-layered and scroll at different speeds to heighten the illusion of depth. Meanwhile, Oliver also brought a professional scriptwriter on board to tighten up the story and dialog, which will be much more of a focus here than in the first game.
There’s a whole new cast of Rolandos to get to know. The main crew is a band of intrepid, seafaring explorers that have gone off to find the Golden Orchid, which will supposedly cure the poisoned Sages of Rolandoland. The Royal Spikey Commandos return, this time with with fashionable military berets. And we also saw some all-new Rolandos, such as a Hot Air Rolando that swells up and floats after eating a chili pepper, and a posh Rolando (wearing bowler and monocle) that is adept at spotting treasure.
Rolando 2 will be 40 to 50 stages long, with unlockable content (such as new tunes from Mr. Scruff’s Music Shop) and a bunch of in-game achievements to hunt down. We’re looking forward to seeing the final rollout later this summer.