We reviewed the first Rolando back in January. January 2009. Now, it's only July, and the sequel is upon us. That's a pretty swift turnaround, handheld platform or not.
So should we be suspicious of this "sequel," considering its short development time? Or will it show that a great game is a great game, no matter the "rush"?
Now In The Third Dimension: Rolando was strictly 2D. But the sequel is quasi-3D, with gameplay still side-scrolling, but with backgrounds now 3-dimensional. While this doesn't make much of a difference to how the game plays, it makes a big difference to how it looks, as the sequel looks far more polished - and a lot less like a flash title - than the original.
Are You Ready Mr. Scruff: Top British DJ Mr. Scruff featured on the first game's soundtrack, and he's back for the sequel with an expanded presence. The whimsical nature of his music is a perfect fit for this game, as evidenced by the fact he makes a guest appearance in his own level. As a Rolando, of course.
The Main Course: Despite being widely regarded as the best game on the iPhone, the original Rolando still felt a little...flat. A little empty. Lacking in charm, too similar to LocoRoco. The sequel dispels those notions. Big advances have been made with the characters and "story", level challenges and presentation, leaving us with a game that's far more polished and well-rounded than the first.
A lot of people think Rolando is the best game on the iPhone. It's so not. Rolando 2 trumps it in almost every regard, building on the first game's near-perfect control scheme by improving the visuals, increasing the amount of variety and, perhaps most endearingly of all, pumping the game full of something the first title was lacking: charm.
It's the first game I have ever played on my iPhone that felt truly substantial, as though I were playing a DS or PSP game, and considering the quality and reputation of other iPhone games, I can't think of a bigger compliment to pay the game.
Rolando 2 was developed by HandCircus, and published by ngmoco for the Apple iPhone. It was released on the App Store on July 2, and retails for $9.99. Completed singleplayer storyline.
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