Roogoo: Twisted Towers Review: Peg-In-Hole Gets Complicated
Southpeak Games may be a fairly new player in the video game market, but they aren’t holding back in terms of the uniqueness and quality of their releases. The company has received various levels of acclaim courtesy of their console releases across every genre, including “Two Worlds” and “X-Blades.” Southpeak has also made a name for themselves on the philanthropic side of gaming as well, having given over $12.9 million to the development of independent gaming, and the presentation of it to the mainstream markets. One of those independent companies, Spidermonk Enterainment, received the 2009 Best Puzzler award at this year’s E3, courtesy of 411mania.com, for their recently released Wii title, “Roogoo: Twisted Towers.”
Having seen releases the DS and Xbox Live Arcade, “Twisted Towers” continues its 3D puzzling by letting you play as the titular-named character who must defend Planet Roo from Meemoo invaders and falling meteor shapes, using only a net and circular platforms where the shapes must fall within.
“Roogoo”’s gameplay is simple and easy to get into; using the B and Z buttons on the Wii remote and nunchuck respectively, players must rotate the game board so the falling pieces go through the correctly shaped, corresponding hole. Once enough pieces have made it to one level they fall through towards the next until the level has been traversed completely. It seems simple right? Try saying that after bats try to make the cycle go backwards, or doors block your path. You must drill through each and every obstacle, which is done by waving the Wii-mote from side to side, in order to move on to the next challenge.
While the game portrays a very cartoonish and childlike qualities, the difficulty quickly become very apparent through perception. The distance between the holes and the shapes themselves are sometimes hard to discern. On top of that, the game uses multiple shapes in the same row to distract or confuse you, causing the “Lose Meter” on the side to rise with each misstep. All the while you need to catch the falling shapes with your net (also used to catch bats and butterflies) when you mess up, and quickly deposit them above. Players can speed up the falling blocks by pressing the down button, which defeats the Meemoos standing in your way, adding a level of combat to the gameplay.
The game is quite fun, and relatively challenging over time, as it makes use of patterns and shapes in a simplistic manner by turning them into something that is much more complicated. “Twisted Towers” also offers some variations on the falling block fomula by offering up challenges to catching stuff in the net, and play “Tempest”-like shooters while collecting more blocks. And, when the single-player mode is finished, you can bring around some friends for either split-screen, or multi-player puzzle action.
“Twisted Towers” also incorporates cartoon-style graphics with clearly anime-inspired characters in the game’s cutscenes, as well as within the game itself, and it provides a kiddie feeling which will make even the most hardcore of gamers feel happy inside. If you’ve ever watched a Nick Jr. show, you’ve likely seen where the game draws a lot of its visual inspiration. It doesn’t change anything or excite the player in any particular way, but it fits the game well enough, even offering something pleasant to listen to while you’re stuffing blocks into holes. Don’t expect much, but the soundtrack is a little better than most of the puzzlers that you’re likely to find on the web; it must be one of the perks of gaining a budget from a big company. The in-game sounds are more defined, especially the twitchy bouncing sound when you misstep and use the wrong hole for the wrong shape. It creates a very distinctive environment, as well as forcing you to fiddle with the controls wildly until you can fix your pieces as best as you can.
“Roogoo: Twisted Towers” is a good all-around puzzler, and should keep interest of both casual players as well as puzzler fans. It’s a great take on the things-falling-from-the-sky genre, while it still manages to change things up from time to time in order to keep it interesting; everything from boss battles to minigames, it proves that there’s still more to be done in this genre. I recommend it.
“Roogoo: Twisted Towers” was developed by SpiderMonk and published by South Peak Games for the Wii on June 30, 2009.