Rotastic: Time to get into the swing of things

October 7, 2011

Rotastic is an odd game to describe. It looks like Castle Crashers and plays like Cut the Rope and Peggle having a wild time at night, with all the collection elements of Bejeweled. Regardless, the game still manages to hold its own charming personality.

There’s really no story within this game, so they throw you right into the action without much of a second thought. Thankfully, the controls are simple enough that you’ll know immediately what to do the moment they drop you in.

Basically, you swing from different pegs placed around the stage and collect jewels. Meet the goal for the stage (which could involve collecting all the jewels, surviving for a certain amount of time or hitting switches), and then you try to escape through the door that pops up before time runs out. Depending on how many points you earned, you are awarded with a helmet that helps unlock stages later on. Each individual helmet actually counts as its own trophy, so you could earn three helmets per stage.

Swinging has a meter-based system, but it’s not complicated at all. The more momentum you get on the swim, the further your meter builds. This meter helps you with grabbing other pegs and protecting you from various things the stages throw at you, such as buzzsaws, other characters, or even lava planks.

As you progress through the game, you unlock more characters to play as. In this world, somehow, a Viking, a boar, an elf, and an entity of death seem to have an affinity for jewels. As you get further through the game, you unlock these characters, as well as alternate colors for each.

The game also offers a multiplayer mode featuring two different game styles: Deathmatch, where you send your opponent to a rough death in to the pits of oblivion, and Collection ,where you fight to collect more jewels than your opponent. It’s a quick distraction from the main game, but it’s still fun to go against your friend in seeing who has better judgment in physics.

However, while Rotastic has simple-to-grasp physics-based puzzles and a charming outlook, the game isn’t without its flaws.

As simple as swinging from rope to rope is, the shoddy reading of controls might detract from clearing a stage as easily as possible. If anything, it’s probably one of the game’s most frustrating aspects. You think you’re far enough to grab another peg, but you’ll suddenly find yourself swinging on the same peg you were trying to get off of in the first place. The game gets unforgiving even further, when there’s almost no margin for error for launching yourself or even grabbing another peg. If you mess up even once, you can kiss your gold helmet goodbye.

Despite the flaws that might make a person cringe, the game actually is fairly fun. The whimsical humor of the narrator, the characters’ charm and the love of physics-based puzzles make for an interesting blend. If you can look past the punishing difficulty and neediness for perfection, it’s good fun.

Pros: Challenging physics based puzzles, whimsical sense of humor
Cons: Rapid difficulty spike, needless sense of perfection

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.