4 Overall Score
Art Style: 7/10
Gameplay: 3/10
'Fun': 3/10

Humorous, Over-Exaggerated Art | Nice Opening Sequence

Terrible Mechanics | Rushed Complicated Stages | Fails to live up to the Artistic Humor

Dancing Dot’s new XBLA release ‘Rotastic’ is a strangely simple puzzle game, with gameplay focusing on rotating your character and launching yourself from axis, to axis grabbing gems and performing stunts in your wake. Stages are categorised into ‘Worlds’, and with each stage lasting around 60 seconds, Rotastic obviously has no relevant story, and is more of a fun pick-up-and-play title than one you could play for over an hour.

Opening with a hilarious and witty cinematic, Rotastic should be setting the stage for what’s to come, however it does quite the opposite. The opening movie introduces each character in a fairly funny manner, and although they don’t speak, their names coupled with their look and actions tell the player that these characters may have some level of personality. But, once you begin spinning, you quickly notice that all four of your choices are just irrelevant, boring, speechless sprites. And that really doesn’t blend well with their look. All four are rather unique, and are styled in an over-exaggerated manner; overall, looking quite humorous. An impression they fail to complete.

The core gameplay of Rotastic starts of simple, spinning in circles and releasing your grasp to launch to another axis, but once past the initial thought of: “These mechanics seem quite solid”, and more and more features are introduced, that thought quickly changes. Rotastic manages to easily overcomplicate itself, and what your controller tells your sprite to do isn’t often pulled off. Rigid animations and poorly displayed movements frequently disguise what your character plans on doing. Almost seeming like it has a mind of its own.  For a game completely reliant on these mechanics, them being so flawed certainly doesn’t make the experience remotely fun.

One good thing Rotastic has going for it, is its art style. DD have created a great mix of classic Behemoth art with a more modern Raskull-like twist. The sprites are the most inspired, but the style remains consistent throughout. As you progress more features and obstacles are implement, with each screen-sized stage becoming fairly cluttered. Creatures like bloated-looking dragon-things are introduced, and their over the top looks and bulbous features really help brighten up the unfortunately bland stages.

On the topic of stages, Rotastic again fails to perform well on such a fundamental element of the game. The puzzles start simple, but they become progressively more complex, and in turn, more elements are included in the stages.  All of the action is focused on one screen only, no sidescrolling features, so when all these elements are thrown in, it suddenly becomes unnecessarily complex and over-cluttered. Trying to focus on avoiding rams, collecting gems, smashing wood, and maintaining your balance / momentum; the word hectic comes to mind. These stages are so badly constructed, a planned one minute stage turns into a ten minute bore-fest containing many replays. I shouldn’t have to fail over and over, the challenge wasn’t meant to be hard, but little inspiration and clear lack of effort make it so. It’s almost like the stages had been thrown together, rushed almost.

Multiplayer is also offered, but unfortunately, it’s local only, and so the one thing that could’ve redeemed this game was lost. However, you do encounter sprite v sprite battles. But these are only short affairs, consisting of a race to grab 50 gems before your opponent. Usually gathered in less than a minute, it’s over before you really get to experience any competitive themes.

At 800 Microsoft points, Rotastic seems to be far overpriced, and would sit better as a budget iOS game or even a free to play flash game. The base idea is there, and Rotastic had so much potential. I can only feel that if it was handled by a developer more familiar in this field, like The Behemoth, it would’ve been much more successful, and the potential of a brilliant idea not wasted.


Author: JackBrommers View all posts by
Aspiring Community Manager / Games Journalist. Geek, Gamer, Gearhead, Figure Fanatic, Avid Competition Enterer and Non-Preachy Vegetarian. Follow me on Twitter: @JackBrommers or feel free to add me on Xbox: Pipboy V3 Eagerly waiting for: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Arkham City, Soul Calibur V, Skullgirls