App of the day: Rotolla review (iPhone)
Think modern-day Tetris with a twist and you'll have some idea of the captivating, addictive and downright tricky game that is Rotolla. Don't move your eyes away from the screen for even a second - this is one of those games that will hook you in and see you accidentally miss your stop on the commute back home.
Rotolla is so wonderfully simple, even its iTunes promotional text sums things up in a mere seven words: "Rotate the falling blocks, match the colors," it reads.
Sometimes simple is best, especially when it's crafted so well. Despite its simplicity this is a tricky game to master.
The Rotolla board is a hexagon divided into 12 segments. In the classic game a coloured shape will appear in the centre and it's up to you - by the virtues of left or right tapping on your Apple device - to rotate the shape around these segments until it lands where you want it.
At the initial levels the pull from centre to edge is somewhat slower than it becomes later down the line. As each level passes so does the time in which you'll have to respond before that next shape has travelled its course. Or press to the centre of the screen to speed up - this acceleration is active only for the duration of the press.
Match colours together - and all they need to do is touch from any neighbouring position - and they'll vanish to score points and open up more free spaces for additional shapes.
But stack up six differing colours and that will leave no room for the next source shape to appear from and that's it - "blocked" and game over.
There are various dynamics to make this task yet harder: shapes can appear as doubles, threes or fours which remain in their respective formations in a locked, army-like style as they are rotated. It is possible to lock one shape into a position and, if the others have yet further available to travel, continue to rotate those remaining free-floating shapes afterwards. As you get better at the game this becomes integral to staying afloat and slipping in some cheeky colour matching.
All of this, coupled with the mixture of colours and no previous knowledge of which shape formation is due up next, requires super-fast reactions to avoid deathly pile-ups in the later levels. It's enough to keep you on your toes at all times.
Simple graphics, simple gameplay and a simple soundtrack adds up to something beyond the sum of its parts. Tetris with a twist is a justifiable description to this modern-day classic. Rotolla's well worth the £1.50 investment as you'll see no in-app purchases, ads or the like - it's just good, clean fun.