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Roogoo (Xbox 360) artwork

Roogoo (Xbox 360) review

"Itís an extremely simple concept, but it has an addictive quality to it and is easily accessible for the hardcore and casuals. As you progress through the forty-five single-player levels, various obstacles are introduced to makes things a little more challenging."

The Xbox Live Arcade is a rich source for quirky puzzles games, but for every gem, thereís a lazy-and-unimaginative cash-in. Thankfully, Roogoo fits into the first category. Rather than trying to rehash Bejeweled-style formula like so many others have, developers SouthPeak Interactive have (literally) put their own spin on Roogoo that sets it apart from the majority of the arcadeís puzzle catalogue. As one of the Roogoo, itís your mission to save your world from the corrupted king by ensuring life-sustaining meteorites can reach the planetís surface. Itís not much of a story, but it exists merely as a context for some excellent puzzle gameplay.

Using the bumper buttons, you need to spin platforms to allow the falling meteorites to safely reach the bottom level. Each platform has a square-, star-, and triangle-shaped hole that allows a meteorite of the same shape to pass through; you need to match like-shaped holes and meteorites so they can reach the bottom. Any that you fail to match up will drift into the depths of space and the games up if you lose too many.

Itís an extremely simple concept, but it has an addictive quality to it and is easily accessible for the hardcore and casuals. As you progress through the forty-five single-player levels, various obstacles are introduced to makes things a little more challenging. More shapes are added to the mix which makes things a bit frantic, in addition to more deliberate nuisances like enemies blocking holes and open and closing flaps, which require good timing to ensure the meteorites reach their destination safely. Contrary to the cutesy, colourful visual style, the second half of the single-player missions will really start to test you. Youíll need lightning quick reactions to survive, and if you want even more of a challenge, every level has a par time to beat that adds to your score bonus.

Unfortunately, the camera is a niggling problem which can add some artificial challenge. Itís locked at quite a distant from the action, and when youíve got shapes falling everywhere and a load of enemy blockades to deal with, itís frustrating to lose easy shapes because of the camera. If itís all getting a little too much you can change the difficulty setting from challenge to casual, but it all starts to get a bit too easy. Some sort of middle ground would have been nice.

Once youíre all done with the single-player, local and Live-enabled multiplayer are the only things left to keep you occupied. It takes the form of a split-screen race contest to see who can complete their meteorite stacks the quickest, and if youíre playing locally, party play provides an interesting twist where players are responsible for the same stacks and alternate turns after each platform. Itís a fun mode thatís more co-operative in nature than the race mode, and it makes sure every player is awake! Live multiplayer is a similar affair, although at present, there isnít much of an online community, so it might be difficult to find matches.

Camera issues aside, Roogoo delivers a polished and addictive puzzle experience thatís quite a bit different from most games on the market. It may rely too much on the same selection of environmental backdrops and looped background music, but if you were looking for a good mind-boggler, those things probably werenít that important anyway. 800 Microsoft points might be a tad too much for most considering there isnít much to fall back on after completing the single-player, but if youíre looking for your next puzzle fix, you could do far worse than Roogoo.


PAJ89's avatar
Freelance review by Paul Josua (June 14, 2008)

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