June 24, 2010

Apps Weekly: Rolando 2 + Farmville

I've had this game put on hold for a while. I planned to review it almost a year ago and always managed to put it off in place of other, newer iPhone apps.

But it was about time I reviewed this long-time favorite.

Rolando 2: The Quest for the Golden Orchid
ngmoco, Hand Circus
Rated 4+, iOS 2.2.1 or later

Considered one of the iPhone's killer games, the original Rolando was at best, an uninspired platformer that borrows heavily from the likes of Loco Roco. Heck, it even controls with tilt. I never really bothered to finish it, because I got bored with it, so with Rolando 2 I hesitantly got it and it was a large, large, large improvement.

From the get-go, you'll see that the game looks significantly better than its predecessor. The background is rendered with 3D elements, and it'll pop out and move while you tilt. Here you have the Rolando kingdom becoming threatened by some evil prince who wants to overthrow the king and become tyranny of the land. Suffice it to say, the story is nothing special; it's the gameplay that really shines.

Featuring weapons and environmental thingamajigs, Rolando 2 is definitely no slouch when it comes to variety, which the first one kind of lacked. It doesn't put more focus on the drawing aspects (which tend to get pretty messy) and instead adds a lot of gameplay mechanics that admittedly, are nothing short of awesome.

There will be parts when you will charge a power so you could shoot enemies, and there'll be times when you'll have to manipulate some mirrors to solve a puzzle. Each Rolando game emphasizes the point that your finger is an almighty force to be reckoned with, and it's most definitely executed better in this game.

What's back are some of those jewels you could collect to gain achievements, and in this one, you'll feel a bit more compelled to get them all.

Along with that are more refined controls and Rolando's that die less easily. And when you use the Spikey Commando here and go back to the original game, you'll probably prefer the controls in this one.

Rolando 2 is well worth the $4.99, because it's decently long, with much variety, great platforming, more personality and much more punched-up visuals.

And yes, the excellent music is provided by Mr. Scruff once again.

Rating: 9/10

I won't really delve much into this just-released game, but, sigh, Farmville has arrived to the iPhone.

Zynga's forces of evil are back to get your money with this deceptively free game, but the upside to those addicted to the game is that you can pretty much check on your farm 24/7 without having to go to your computer (or leave it on all the time). A Facebook account is required, but existing players are granted access to their existing Facebook farms, or they can create a new one from scratch.

Harvest this one on the App Store, if you're a big fan. Personally I think We Rule from ngmoco has better graphics and more personality. Yes, yes, I haven't played that one either, but clearly the screenshots already say a lot.

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