Rollaround, Commodore 64

Rollaround is an isometric action/puzzle game written by Tony Kelly of Mr. Chip Software and was published by Mastertronic in 1987. The gameplay is a combination of Marble Madness, Bobby Bearing, Spindizzy and Q*Bert, where the aim is to control a rolling ball that moves around a map of screens, rolling over tiles, activating switches, and collecting cross tiles for points.

The core of Rollaround is to simply score as many points as possible, and to collect enough cross tiles to escape to the next level, before the timer runs down. But to do that you have to solve a variety of puzzles in order to reach the various switches or activate the tiles that you can collect. As well as to avoid the many traps that will drop you through the floor and to your doom.

The ball can jump – although only by one tile. It can, however, jump multiple times, which means than it can move between a line of tiles as long as they are not disconnected by more than one tile.

Some traps will home in on you, meaning that you have to keep moving on some screens, and hitting some tiles or switches will change the layout of a screen completely, or sometimes reveal new exits.

In-between levels there’s a simple bonus game where you must press the fire button to stop a moving box on a selection of positive or ‘zero’ bonuses. Here you can earn points or extra lives. Or come out with nothing.

Rollaround is an okay game, with decent presentation and responsive controls, but it can get very frustrating to play at times. Especially when you’re caught out by rolling over hidden trap tiles (how the hell are you supposed to remember where they are?!), or are put back into a life-losing situation when the game re-starts, just after after losing a life (which can lose you all your lives in quick succession).

Rollaround might appeal to anyone who likes any of the above-mentioned games (Spindizzy especially, as I felt that it had some fundamental similarities), or likes challenging isometric puzzle games, but it isn’t what I would call a ‘classic’. It’s not bad, but it could have been better with a bit more thought put into it, and more variety.

More: Rollaround on Wikipedia
More: Rollaround on CSDb

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