It’s long been our ambition to throw a grizzly bear at a bunch of rednecks, and with Rollabear our dreams have been realised. This quirky action game from Matmi is like a cross between Super Monkeyball and bowling, and sees you steering cartoon bears through a variety of 3D levels, before crashing into ten ‘pins’ formed of hairy inbred yokels. The ‘why’ isn’t really fully described – Rollabear’s intro simply shows a nudey bear shocking the inhabitants of a Laundromat before being sucked into one of the machines. But then, you don’t really play games like this for the plot (do you?)
The action is viewed from behind your Rollabear, as you control him or her simply by tapping the left and right side of the screen. It’s pure acrade action, so you can change direction mid-air and pull off some pretty spectacular jumps using bounce pads and ramps. Levels get progressively longer and packed with all kinds of dangerous obstacles, and some moments – such as perfectly timing a jump through a moving train – are pretty damn cool the first time you pull them off.
To complete each level you have to down all of the pins, and in true bowling tradition you get two attempts to do it. However, the developers have made things less frustrating by throwing in a ‘rewind time’ feature. Collect the power-ups in each level and you can use them to skip back in time, as little or much as you like, which saves on unwanted blood pressure when you negotiate a particularly horrendous course only to slam arse-first into a cliff right at the end. Each level grades you out of five stars at the end, and while you don’t need a perfect score to progress, it’s a good reason to take another stab at a completed level.
As well as the main campaign, you get added replay value with the Ten Round and Survivor modes. The prior has you playing ten levels in a row, to rack up as large a score as possible. The latter has you bowling through as many levels as possible before you finally miss a pin. Between these different modes and the unlockable characters, Rollabear should keep gamers occupied for many, many hours.
Occasionally the game can be a little glitchy (we got caught in obstacles and occasionally flew off at completely random angles when hitting bounce pads, but these instances are reasonably rare), and it’s one of those titles where you’ll no doubt fail on your first few level attempts as you suss out the lay of the land. However, our sense of accomplishment after beating a tricky level was enough to keep us playing, and Rollabear is one of those games that you can pick up and play for a few minutes between train stops. For 69p, it’s well worth a look for arcade fans.
Rollabear is out now on iOS for 69p