Developed By: Spicy Gyro Games and Shiny Dolphin Games
Published By: HOF Studios
Release Date: 10.29.2019
Polyroll is a high-speed, rip-rolling platformer that draws a ton of inspiration from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Along with a Super Mario World map structure you have a game that has taken from some of the greatest platformers of our time, but unfortunately, also takes a lot of the bad that allowed the Sonic series to be overcome by Mario and his cohorts. Lacking enemies, frustrating level design, and too much Sonic make this a game that is good, not great.
Kaiser Kiwi has kidnapped your friends, and it is up to you to take him and his minions on. This roly poly means business, and he is on his way through eerily familiar stages. Frigid Castle is the end goal, and there is a bug-themed world ahead of you as you do whatever it takes to save your friends. The story and structure of everything in front of you is straight from the Sonic the Hedgehog playbook, and if you have played any of those games then you have an idea of what is in front of you. Unfortunately, Sonic the Hedgehog never had a good story, so this one falls into that same trap. You are here for the platforming, not what is actually happening.
Speaking of the platforming it offers a really solid experience. I actually found myself enjoying it more than any Sonic title I have played as it allows you to slow down more, rather than being more so about high speed and high scores. Don’t get me wrong, you can blow through these levels in classic Sonic fashion, but I felt a bit more relaxed with my time here, and the game allows for more exploration per run, rather than having quick, successive playthroughs for each stage. The design of the stages is subpar but allows for some hidden secrets and alternate routing that I appreciated.
However, the way the main character handles feels really nice, and makes up for a lot of the overall lackluster platforming. From spinning, bouncing, wall jumping, and items that really mix things up you have a lot on your plate to work with that makes this one a pretty good time. I had a good time just messing around in the stages purely based on the character’s mechanics, so that is definitely a saving grace for a title that otherwise felt seriously lacking and too old school in those departments.
Enemies felt like they were phoned in for this one, though. Nothing fancy or unique, just basic walking enemies you jump on, flying enemies you jump on, and springing enemies you jump on. Boss fights offer a lot more in terms of breaking up the monotony but doesn’t happen enough to overcome the tedious treks through the stages. And with a playtime that can last less than 10 hours it is something that was definitely felt. Moving through the levels and ignoring the enemies, while instead looking for the hidden gems (of which there are three per level) as well as the different ways to get to the end goal was a ton more fun than anything in the enemy fights department.
The map is 100% derived from that of Super Mario World. With the top-down perspective, and main protagonist marching from square to square to enter the levels it is a complete match to what you would think of when thinking about Super Mario World. It doesn’t add a ton to the gameplay or mechanics but is a nice touch to the art of the game, as the maps from Super Mario World are top notch.
Art and style are something this game does very well. This one exudes charm, and the negative old school traits this game offers comes across in an entirely different way when it comes to the look and feel of this title. Beautifully done retro pixel art brings life to the main characters, the enemies and levels, and mostly with the crazy cool looking bosses. I definitely appreciated the style they were going for here, and again, although it nearly mimics what you would have seen out of the Sonic the Hedgehog series back in the day, it still offers something really nice. And being a bug theme rather than an animal one you at least have something a bit more unique and self-standing.
Overall, Polyroll is a solid platformer, and is one anyone who is a fan of the Sonic the Hedgehog series will want to take note of. Although it takes a little too much from the inspirations, with some of what made Sonic a rough platformer, you still have something that is enjoyable and well-made. I can definitely recommend any Sega boys and girls from back in the day give this one a shot for nostalgia’s sake, but anyone who was graced with an NES or SNES will probably want to move along.
Buy Now – $9.99
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*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*