|System: X360, PC, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SpiderMonk||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4; 2 Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
For most games to be truly successful a lot of thought and care often needs to be put into their overall presentation. It is equally as important for a game to have adequate graphics as it is for it to look appealing to the player. Imagine if God of War starred a tutu-wearing ballerina instead of Kratos and instead of ogres, you were cutting stuffed animals in half. Even if the game had some of the best gameplay in the world, most gamers still wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Unfortunately, this will most likely be the same fate that befalls Roogoo.
Roogoo is an interesting puzzle game to say the least. The basic concept of the game is not unlike the shape sorting blocks that most will remember from their infancy. These were blocks with a different colored shape on each side, requiring children to learn basic shape and color recognition to insert the proper pieces. Instead of maintaining the block shape, Roogoo uses flat and round platforms with different colored, shaped holes with which to catch falling pieces.
While this may sound like a pretty basic gameplay concept, the game is actually quite challenging. Initially you will start with three different shapes, working your way up to a grand total of five. The game begins easily enough with a tutorial describing the basic gameplay mechanics. Pieces of different shapes and colors will fall from the heavens, and it is up to you to guide them safely to the bottom of a stack of platforms. You achieve this by spinning these platforms and using the bumpers, so the falling pieces match the shapes on the platform were they will land. If you are successful, the piece will either proceed through the hole or create stacks that eventually drop through. However, if the pieces land in the incorrect holes, you will lose them and your lose meter will fill. When the lose meter fills entirely you will be forced to replay the level.
Roogoo does an excellent job of slowly introducing new concepts that will affect this core gameplay. Holding the A button will allow you to make the pieces drop quicker, giving you a better chance of beating each level's par time. Some platforms will naturally drop pieces faster than others, making timing the spinning platform fairly challenging. A few more levels into the game, some platforms will begin to flip end over end, swatting away improperly timed piece drops. In some later levels, certain platforms will also come equipped with shutters that will continually open and close, making proper drop timing all the more difficult to accomplish. Pieces will also begin to come more frequently in random spinning waves and in stacks to keep the gameplay varied and difficult. Even if you manage to keep pace with all of these mechanics, the game throws another curveball at you. Butterflies, bats, and other random creatures will begin to pick up your stacks of blocks. You will then need to align overhead platforms so the pieces can properly ascend.
Another potential hazard comes in the form of enemies. There is really only one type of enemy in the game, besides time, and those are the Moomoos. These creatures will perch themselves on your platforms and stacks, forcing you to remove them before you can proceed. To destroy these baddies you will need to drop your blocks quickly so the falling piece smacks them in the head. This doesn't sound difficult, but it can become so when balancing all of the other things going on at the same time. Most Moomoos are fairly docile, but in later levels they begin to carry knives that they use to dice your falling pieces. To eliminate them, you will need to find the one that isn't spinning their blades and slam them in the head with a piece. With every successfully defeated enemy, another will cease their slashing, allowing you to continue to successively knock out these enemies until all are dispatched. This can be incredibly tricky and results in quite a few lost pieces.