Seasons Greetings friends and neighbors. The holidays are upon us and so a glut of new games come at us along with numerous sales and deals. Here’s one that might be under your radar. On a Roll 3D is a retro side scrolling puzzle platformer developed and published by Battenberg Software for both Xbox One and PC, and is part of the Play Anywhere program. Buy it on one platform and you have it on both. It features 24 levels across six worlds, as well as leaderboards for best score and best completion times.
Let’s see how it shapes up. On the surface, On a Roll 3D is a nostalgic side-scroller that does offer a little bit of challenge. You can expect to see a variety of obstacles and enemies with a few simple puzzles thrown in, along with six end of level bosses for you to defeat. I’d say experienced gamers should be able to complete the entire game relatively quickly as it is quite simple in terms of level design. It seems it caters more to the speedrunning crowd as the leaderboards are based on score and time.
Players control a ball through the levels avoiding such hazards as spikes, mines, dynamite, lasers, saws, fire, and electricity. Contact with these will cause you to lose stars that are collected throughout the level. Navigate obstacles using conveyors, springs, switches, doors, bumpers, and trapdoors. Be careful when jumping from platform to platform as some move and others even disappear. Defeat enemies by bouncing on them. That pretty much sums it up as far as gameplay is concerned.
From the main menu you can choose from starting up a game, checking out the leaderboards, and game options. You can also see the game credits if you care for such a thing. The options menu allows you to adjust things like music and sound effects volumes, character color, turn hints on or off, and you can reset your progress. Leaderboards show you where you stand in the rankings. At the time of this writing CjhCarter vL holds the top game completion time of 50:05 and Riffai holds the top score of 97,010 points. There’s even a leaderboard for completion percentage with the top spot being held by otakon62.
Upon starting up the game you’ll come to the level select screen. Players will have to complete the Garden Trail levels before unlocking the Marble Ruins, Frozen Wilderness, Industrial Highway, Moonlight Meadow, and finally the Concrete City. Each area consists of 3 levels and 1 boss battle. Level appearance is clearly inspired by games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Mario Bros. Here you’ll also be able to see what levels you have completed to perfection.
I have to say that the game looks better than it plays. The description in the game store calls it a 2D side-scroller with a 3D twist, and while the levels certainly look 3D in design, that doesn’t affect how you play the game. Pushing right moves you forward and pushing left moves you backward. Pressing A makes you jump. That’s it. When going around a curve just continue pressing forward. The camera will pan around automatically. So in this regard, I feel the term 3D in the game title is a bit misleading. I was actually expecting something more akin to Marble Madness, or something with a little bit more depth. I had mentioned collecting stars earlier.
Stars will allow you to make contact with hazards at the cost of losing up to 10 stars. Contact with hazards, with no stars, will cause player death. Kind of like collecting rings in Sonic the Hedgehog. The difference being that in Sonic, when you lose rings, you have a short time to collect some of them back. Not so in On a Roll 3D. When you lose stars they’re lost for good. There are a few enemy types and while they’re so called attack patterns are different, the strategy for defeating them all is the same. Bounce on them.
Be careful with enemies that are covered in spikes though, as they will cause you to lose stars and can’t be killed. These need to be avoided instead. Boss battles see you trapped in a room with a giant enemy which you must bounce on to knock down their health, which is indicated at the top of the screen. As you would expect, these get more difficult as you progress through the game. The last boss is really giving me a headache. But it’s just a matter of learning their patterns and adjusting to the speed increase as their health nears the red. All in all, for the price of $4.79, On a Roll 3D is worth a few hours of your time.
While there isn’t anything wrong with the game, there isn’t anything that makes it stand out from the crowd either. But those that enjoy speedruns can keep whittling down seconds off their time for a little while at least. Personally, I’d have liked more enemies as there are very few scattered through the levels. Sound effects are typical of the genre and the music is your standard platforming audio fodder. A split-screen multiplayer mode where players race head to head through the levels would have really upped the replay factor. Hopefully the developer reads this review and can add those features in On a Roll 2, and more levels please.
While there isn’t anything definitively wrong with the game, there isn’t anything that On a Roll 3D can particularly brag about either. It’s your run of the mill side-scrolling platformer, one that seemingly trades innovation for simplicity. If you’re a speedrunner, a leaderboard buff, or generally enjoy ease-of-use games of this type, On a Roll 3D is for you. If, on the other hand, you appreciate something deeper and more robust, look elsewhere.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.