|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SpiderMonk Ent.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Robert VerBruggen
For years, the puzzle genre has been all about falling 2-D blocks and match-three boards. Even decades after their original releases, new versions (not to mention clones) of Tetris and Dr. Mario still come out regularly. Toss in Bejeweled and its countless imitators, and you have an entire industry of puzzle-game developers churning out the same material over and over again.
In times like these, it's nice to see a game with a fresh mechanic. The Roogoo series deserves lots of credit on that front, with a central concept we've never seen in a game before. Unfortunately, as the new Roogoo Attack shows, this concept just isn't all that fun in practice.
To play the game, you control circular discs with oddly shaped holes cut into them. Blocks fall from the sky, and you have to rotate each disc so that the shape of the falling block matches the shape of the hole it's headed toward. If you succeed, the block passes through the hole, and if you fail enough times, you have to re-try the puzzle.
It's almost absurdly simple, not unlike the games toddlers play with their toys, but with 100 stages and three skill levels available, Roogoo Attack provides a lot of value for the money. By linking the DS to the Wii's Roogoo: Twisted Towers via wireless, you can unlock an additional 20 levels. However, despite the extra content, it's a little bit obnoxious: why do customers have to purchase two games to get the full value out of one?
As the game wears on, the tasks become increasingly difficult, and Roogoo Attack eventually turns into a very demanding test of players' dexterity and reaction time - the pieces fall quickly, and in some levels a second piece will fall before the first is finished. In others, in place of blocks, the game throws a series of objects at you (such as a nest, followed by an egg, and then a chicken) that you have to stack in order on the disc. In other levels, enemies protect some of the holes, and to get rid of them you have to line up the block early and hit A (which makes it fall quickly, bonking the evil hole-blocker on the head). There are also levels where you control a skydiver who must collect blocks.
Even with all this challenge and variety, however, the game can't overcome its fundamental flaw: spinning a disc around to let blocks pass through just isn't very fun. Small children might be amused, at least until the game gets too hard for them, but it's difficult to imagine an adult playing more than two or three puzzles at a time. Also, because of this flaw, it's easy to get frustrated and give up when the puzzles start requiring multiple tries. Who wants to match one shape to another and fail? It's like early childhood all over again, except without the excuse of an underdeveloped brain.