I hate being mean about things. I genuinely do. Unless whatever it is deserves it then I don’t. I mean, being mean about terribly realised things is easy. Say for example someone couldn’t be bothered to study for a test and then spends all of their time whinging and moaning and crying about their low score. Yeah, I’ll be mean to you about it because why do I want to hear how you did yourself no favours by acting like an idiot? You made your bed, you go and lie in it.
By the same token, people who CAN’T make games and try desperately to cash in on crazes and make copies and clones of other games and get ripped to shreds over it… yeah. I’ll be mean about them without a second thought. If it’s a genuinely bad game for reasons of bad coding, gameplay, whatever, I’m not going to feel too bad about being mean about it.
And then on the other hand, you have people who make games with good intentions that don’t always hit the mark. For whatever reason, it PAINS me to say that Rolo To The Rescue is one such game. It is not for lack of trying. It is not because it’s been poorly coded, looks awful, runs at a slow pace or because it plays like a load of drivel or like a slug through molasses or anything like that.
There’s another very clear reason as to why this is not a good game at all.
So Rolo is a circus elephant who’s been captured, along with some of his other animal friends, and he goes on a journey to find his captured mother before something awful happens to her. Like she gets her head mounted as a trophy on someone’s wall or she becomes the branding for some sort of soft drink… or she’s used to test nail polish or something, I don’t fucking know. Look, you should know by now that when someone is captured in gaming, for whatever reason, you go and get them back. It’s like the unwritten law of gaming stories: CAPTURED = GO RESCUE.
Hence the game’s title. It’s called Rolo To The Rescue. It’s not Rolo Takes A Nap Before Dinner – although that might have been a slightly more intriguing game set-up.
So Rolo traverses the locales in the game picking up map pieces and unlocking the cages that hold his many – MANY – friends all over the place, each of whom have a particular use in the game. The sad, Fagin-like character in the above screenshot is in every single level. He has the key. If you want your friends, you twat him round the back of the head – i.e. you jump on him, a la every platform game – and then you get the key. This key, perhaps rather daftly, unlocks every cage. I mean, yeah that makes sense in the grand scheme of things because if you have MANY CAGES with MANY LOCKS, you have MANY KEYS and you end up with a hilarious scenario like the one from Friends where Joey and Chandler have an entire drawer full of keys, none of which they know the uses for. However, it is only daft because the single key frees every animal and since your enemy’s just an elephant stomp on your head, by the time you come to, the animals are all gone. If you had more than one type of key, then from a villain’s point of view, you could wake up and find that maybe three have gone out of the eight because Rolo’s spent the rest of the time searching for keys? I don’t know.
From YOUR point of view, the player, this is probably a good thing. Traversing the levels searching for the last key that’ll free the last animal is probably NOT the ideal way to play your video games.
So Rolo’s friends come in the form of four different animals with varying uses. The rabbits – which are, for some strange reason, blue – can jump incredibly high. The beavers – complete with innertube – are able to travel across water. The others cannot. They will simply die if they even so much as come into contact with it. Because animals. The squirrel can climb walls to reach higher places without the fear of jumping off a tiny platform, like the rabbits might, and end up in a pit of spikes or WORSE: water! Lastly, the mole can dig.
With a spade.
Look, I get the intention of the game trying to be cute and being rather amusing in certain ways but seriously? Moles dig ANYWAY and the best you can do is give it a spade? It’s much like giving the beaver an innertube when they can already fucking swim. Give over, EA. You can do better than that. Mostly. Let’s not go there CAN OF WORMS.
In order to get through most of the levels, you will have to use the animals’ skills regularly. Sometimes, the game is aware of how difficult a passage through the level can be and gives you more than one of each animal JUST IN CASE. If you end up with three rabbits, be aware that the three rabbits MIGHT end up falling to their deaths. However, there is always the option of restarting the level without costing you lives, which is actually a pretty nice feature for a game that OUGHT to be simpler than it actually is… because let’s think about this:
Are you expecting this game to be difficult? I mean, look at it. It’s not a game for adults. It’s a game designed – SURELY – for children. I mean… look at it. It’s cartoony, based on small fluffy animals and there’s not actually a huge amount of things to do in the game. How could it possibly be difficult?
Well… clearly by being ROLO TO THE FUCKING RESCUE, THAT’S HOW. This games is NAILS. There really is no reason for it to be as hard as it is. It’s MEANT to be aimed at younger gamers. The whole aesthetic appeals to younger games. How can it not be for younger gamers?
Because it’s far too fucking difficult to control everything appropriately. There are a couple of major issues in terms of the game’s control of the camera. It doesn’t stay centred on the characters for the most part, particularly when you change direction. You have to start moving in the other direction for a certain amount of time before the camera decides to help you. This can make some deaths unwarranted, particularly when characters fall into water. It’s VERY unlikely to happen but given that occasionally the game ROCKETS down hills, you might even barrel-roll into hedgehogs and spikes without even knowing.
The game itself is broken up into levels separated by puzzle-piece areas. If you reach the end of the level with the animals, that gives you said puzzle piece. In some levels, there are additional pieces as well which completes the jigsaw, so to speak, and gives you additional levels and puzzles to complete. Normally, this would mean that you’d get more hours out of the game to free the animals and whatnot. Because you have to free ALL of the animals to get the proper ending. Otherwise you get the “WELL DONE FOR FREEING YOUR MOTHER BUT YOU’RE A BASTARD FOR NOT FREEING ALL THE OTHER ANIMALS, YOU SELFISH TWAT” ending. Which isn’t as much fun.
Because here’s the game’s main issue:
IT IS BORING AS FUCK.
Holy shit, if there was a game that could bore you tears quicker than you can say “throw this game into the fire” then it would be this one. Rolo is a boring as all get out lead character. None of the characters have much charm or likeability about them. The enemies are few and far between. The platforming is haphazard at best and INSULTINGLY BLAND at worst. Basically… there is so little to recommend about this game when the only thing that springs to mind is just how fucking dull and nothingy the game is. There is literally no excitement to be had from ANYTHING on the screen. The graphics are fair. They’re not special, they’re not exciting, they’re not house-on-fire-setting. Nothing much happens throughout and any excitement to be had comes from… a change of sky colour. Whoop de fucking doo. Please no more. My heart cannot take it.
The music is ABOMINABLE. it is ear-shatteringly wonky for the most part and monotonous and repetitive for the remainder. Think of James Pond 2’s irritating opening plinky-plonky music, magnify it by about a dozen and a half, make it more screechy, take out any tune and then STOMP all over it with rock shoes. That is the level of sound quality you’re going to get. It is shockingly poor. The sound effects aren’t any better but at least they can be listened to. JUST.
But none of that REALLY matters when the platforming is sleep-inducingly dull. The level design is shoddy, there’s nothing to DO on each level other than collect animals, AND COLLECTING POINTS SCATTERED ABOUT THE AIR DOES NOT FUCKING WELL COUNT AS SOMETHING TO DO…
Sorry… but collecting random 2500 point markers is basically a cheap way of trying to find a selling point. I couldn’t give a flying fuck if someone manages to get a better score than me. It doesn’t matter what game it is. Unless the objective of the game is to SCORE MORE, then I don’t want to know who is at the the top of the leaderboard. If you put on the back of your game box that “BEAT YOUR HIGH SCORE!” is something worth telling everyone about, you’re basically saying that your game is not much more than a collect-a-thon.
And so you can see why Rolo never got a sequel. If anything, this is a game that totally passed me by at the time of release. Our friends across the road had this game and it was difficult to say why we played it. I suppose back then we liked the idea of it and we DID want to get to the later levels. We often got to the first boss, died and then capitulated completely, not even having the energy to carry on. By the time you got to that point and died so many times, you checked out mentally. There wasn’t really any… reason to play it. We didn’t care much for that game in the end. We often went straight back to something we knew was FUN and probably even older. It was usually Streets of Rage.
The day I managed to defeat that boss, was not even a GOOD moment. It was more a case of “well thank fuck that’s over” before realising that there was going to be a heap of levels to come after that.
Well, I’m sorry, Rolo’s mother, but you’re going to have to stay in your cage a little bit longer because if you think I’m going to spend any more playing your DULL-ARSE game, then you’ve got another thing coming.
NOT A SEQUEL, THOUGH. AHAHAHAHA!
But hey, save yourself money on sleeping pills everyone. One dose of this will be enough. You just have the think about this game and you’ll be nodddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddoqpwijd
WHA- WHAT? I’M AWAKE.
Who drew an elephant’s trunk on my arm?
Wait a second… that’s not a trunk…
FUCKING HELL GUYS.