Square Enix's Solarola isn't a new game. It originally started life as an early mobile game prior to the success of apps and smartphones. Can this new version roll from mobile to Smartphone successfully? The short answer is yes, it can.
This rolling platformer starts off with a neat story told in animated comic strips. Two blobs fly to planets to pick up energy, but something goes wrong and they find themselves on a planet, having to look for parts to fix their ship. From here a plot unravels which will see our little heroes attempt to save the universe.
It's worth dwelling on the presentation for a moment here. The cut scenes are simple but colourful, appealing to kids and the casual market and introducing the main characters. The game itself takes these bright, colourful graphics and rolls with them (pun intended), from the lush vegetation to the blue skies in the background, everything is pleasing to the eye. Occasionally, all this detail and foliage will get in your way and make it hard to see where you should be going, but for the most part the levels are well designed.
Cheery music plays in the background and is nice enough to listen to without getting irritating. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the sound effects, particularly the main character, with his little squeaks and cries every time you roll him around. I found these sounds annoying after just a few levels.
For the most part, though, the game is all about rolling from one platform to another, finding pinball-style barriers to bounce you around and ropes to swing across obstacles. Many of the levels involve simple logic puzzles which aren't too taxing on the brain but may put off younger players. It does provide a little bit more of a challenge for the regular gamer though.
Controlling your blob can either be done through virtual buttons or by using tilt and a jump button. Playing on the iPhone the tilt isn't too bad, though it's a little too sensitive for my liking, but on the iPad I found the game very hard to control well enough for more difficult jumps and puzzles and reverted back to the virtual buttons instead. In fact, the buttons work pretty well, with only a left and right button to worry about and a jump button on the opposite side of the screen.
There are some clever ideas in this otherwise straightforward platform game that enable it to stand out among the crowd and the story adds another enjoyable element to Solarola, as well as pushing the player forward to find out what happens next. While it's not perfect, the level design and bright, beautiful graphics make this game worth checking out if you're a fan of platformers.
- Sound: 6
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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