Mobile Gaming
Rollabear Review

With collectibles spewed throughout and a perpetual pursuit of star ratings and unlockables, Rollabear is every iOS game. Launching animals from slingshots and hitting the right spot for points sounds like the exact kind of thing that you might choose to take or leave. But Rollabear is drizzled with just enough challenge and invention to make wiggle room for itself amongst the droves of the App Store.

Rollabear 3

As you might expect, rolling bears is Rollabear’s stock-in-trade. Launching bug-eyed cartoon bears towards assembled bowling pins via rickety bridges and intrusive rock piles, you control your grizzly projectile with subtle taps to each side of your touchscreen. Quick taps or longer holds are as effective as one another in steering you bear-cum-ball around obstacles in lieu of landing strikes, scoring points and earning stars. Control is typical of the simplicity of most iOS software; apart from guiding your bear, the technicalities extend only as far as controlling the initial power of your launch – depending on how far and fast you pull back the elastic on your catapult.

While early stages make for picturesque – if fairly standard – bowling alleys, Rollabear wastes little time in escalating the challenge: stages quickly increase in both length and complexity – with tighter spaces to squeeze through and more furniture to avoid. Apart from aiming for strikes – more often than not essential for completing levels – your aim is to nab up to five collectible fish along the way. Building up a stockpile of sea life is essential in helping maximise your score and helps you orient your way through certain stages that are occasionally prone to opening out in a way that can leave you unclear as to which way to guide your sprite.

The fish, too, serve Rollabear’s most interesting mechanic. Each one can be consumed to allow you to rewind time, sending your bear back without returning collectibles to the map. This both affords you room for missteps and allows you to gather up additional items, both of which are particularly useful in some of Rollabear’s longer stages. Time is reversed with a simple back flick on the touchscreen, although it can often be oversensitive, leading to unwanted rewinds. The rest if the inputs work as intended, although Rollabear is considerably more unwieldy when tackled on a smaller iPhone screen – tablet play is recommended, unless in the hands of smaller children.

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It’s in the hands of kids, in fact, that Rollabear is likely to find its niche. There’s tons of ridiculous looking bears to be unlocked for achieving different milestones, twangy banjo music, excited whoops and hollers and some fairly dynamic scenery to roll through – from shuddering mineshafts to quaint oriental villages. Kids, too, are less likely to be troubled by Rollabear’s occasional glitches. A few times across the campaign’s sixty stages, I found the game audio carried on after restarting – one restart even included the previous fail screen as part of my next run.

While the hidden characters don’t seem to behave differently, there’s lots to be found and plenty of content for the sixty-nine pence or ninety-nine cents Rollabear asks you to part with. Apart from the campaign, there’s a survivor mode – where you see how many stages you can pass in a row – and a ten round affair, challenging you to max your score over ten given stages. There’s plenty to do – although Rollabear perhaps suffers from peaks and troughs in its difficulty.

With zany characters, chirpy tunes – and stars, points and collectibles to gather, Rollabear is much like a lot of what you can already find lurking in the menus of your mobile or tablet. There’s a reasonable challenge to be found across a healthy number of stages, though, and at a price making it well worth a look.

Audio/Visual: 3/5 – Zany, if repetitive, audio, pretty limited to the backdrop variety

Gameplay: 3/5 – For every animal launched from a catapult, there’s a fish that rewinds time

Innovation: 3/5 – Almost like everything else but a smidgen of quirk to help it stand out

Value: 4/5 – 69p or 99¢ for sixty levels and additional game modes, can still be beaten quickly – but good value for younger players

TheGamersHub Score
Reviewer: Leo McCloskey
+ Pros
- Cons
It's in the hands of kids that Rollabear is likely to find its niche. There's tons of ridiculous looking bears to be unlocked, twangy banjo music, excited whoops and hollers and some fairly dynamic scenery to roll through.

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