Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid
Finally, a sequel worthy of Rolandoland.
Rolando went from LocoRoco wannabe to the jewel of iPhone's video game lineup, thanks to excellent tilt controls, memorable characters (Spiky Commando for the win) and plenty of free downloadable content. Now ngmoco's back with a sequel, Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid, and while developer Hand Circus didn't dramatically change the formula, we thoroughly enjoyed rolling those adorable critters through 45 imaginative levels.
This time around, the Rolandos must leave their kingdom of Rolandoland to find the Golden Orchid, the only cure for a mysterious illness terrorizing the king's sages. This involves sailing the high seas and exploring a plethora of different islands and environments, including volcanoes, tropical jungles and ancient ruins, all of which feature newfangled 3-D graphics that separate this game from its predecessor. That said, it still plays like a 2-D game, with flat Rolandos happily rolling along.
Thankfully, the graphics are but one of the game's new features. In addition to the snazzy visuals, you'll control a wider variety of Rolandos (including a pirate), man vehicles, fire turrets to defeat enemies, fly and even solve puzzles by floating; large Rolandos sink, allowing you to open pathways for smaller Rolandos to float across.
Learning how to play Rolando 2 takes little effort, whether you mastered the original or just picked up the series. You simply tilt the iPhone (in some cases 360 degrees) to guide the circular Rolandos through the game world, picking up crystals, bouncing off jump pads and discovering hidden goodies. You'll complete numerous tasks that'll challenge you to roll a sleeping king to the exit (just like in the previous Rolando), rescue trapped friends and use objects within the environment to complete objectives, so if anything, there's always something to do.
Beating a stage, however, isn't the only goal. You also want to rescue all of the Rolandos, gather all of the crystals and do so within a time limit. Achieving each objective earns you a medal, and while nabbing them takes some effort, you won't curse the game or grow increasingly frustrated after repeated attempts, simply because it's so well designed. Climbing the Rolando 2 leaderboards, of course, adds a cherry on the already delicious digital sundae.
On the downside (and this is a minor complaint), the game fails to elicit the same level of excitement as its prequel did, most likely because much of it plays exactly the same. But clearly, more of a good thing is just what the video game doctor ordered. Rolando 2 is a delightful app and a must play for iPhone users, even at $9.99. You know you want it.
What's Hot: Superb 2.5-D art style, unique types of Rolandos, impressive music and sound effects, leaderboard support, wonderful dialogue, enjoyable tilt controls.
What's Not: Don't worry about it. Just buy the game.