Review: Rotastic (Xbox Live)

By Wayne Webb

Not quite sure what the developers of Rotastic were thinking when picking Vikings as the theme for this spinning and gem-collecting game, but it adds some quirk to a simple and addictive experience.

It’s a game that looks more at home on a website or a smart phone than a current generation console. Your character swings Spiderman-like on a rope around a central point that floats mid-air and sometimes is on the move. Round and round you go, rotating like the name suggests, and using a one button mechanism you hold on or let go of your central point and fly off to the next or to your certain doom.

At first it is based on simple gem collection to clear levels and move on to new ones. Then you learn how to use basic physics and geometry to make shapes – which is harder than it looks. Then you add in the obstacles, the traps, the switches and enemies. Soon enough the game transforms into something more complex, but ultimately it is still a game of spinning about and collecting points.

The design is pure cartoon and the controls are easy to pick up once you start flying about. The randomness of some elements and the odd physics mean that it’s not something that flies or spins the same way twice necessarily – so you have to pay attention even when you think you have mastered the controls. If you play with another person it gets hugely competitive and you spend your time constantly trying to cut off your opposition’s string or rope and send them crashing down before they can connect up to a new rotate point to save themselves. Never before has geometry been so much fun. The commentary doesn’t suit the Viking theme but the jaunty music and the enthusiasm should make it appeal to kids as noisy and engaging.

The main game itself has not much of a long life for interest even though some difficult levels are indeed a matter of timing and sometimes sheer luck. The strength is in the simplicity and size (200NB download size) coupled with the fun and frustration of multiplayer with other people in the room.

Pros: Fun, funny, easy to pick up and loads of replay value – excellent multiplayer.
Cons: Not much to it, more like a mini game than a console star

3 Shacks Out of 5