Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sola Rola - The Gravity Maze

Sola Rola is kind of like Excit -- it's a pretty straightforward puzzle game, and likely you've seen the basic puzzle type before, but it still combines clever level design with a few additions to make it a fun game.

So, in Sola Rola, you have two balls -- well, actually they're spherically-shaped, uh, creatures, named Wiz and Waz. They're placed in a circular maze, and your goal is to get them to their respective destinations by rotating the maze. In nearly every level, this requires some degree of teamwork, as most levels feature colored switches and correspondingly-colored doors; often you'll find yourself needing to maneuver one of the pair onto a switch to open a door for the other. In most levels, the two balls move independently, but in some they're connected with a gravity beam, which basically serves as a rope which can pass through the maze walls. This requires somewhat different tactics, but the basic principle is still the same.

The level design is pretty solid -- the levels are generally not too difficult, but they generally require at least some care, thought, and cleverness. A few of the puzzles do require a bit of dexterity, but generally planning is much more important than quick action. None of the levels gets too complicated, but there are a few which require very careful maneuvering to get through.

The graphics are pretty simple, although Wiz and Waz have a nice amount of personality. (One small complaint I have is that the tutorial information, presented in the form of dialogue between Wiz and Waz, proceeds extremely slowly. A way to speed this up would be much appreciated.) The music is perhaps a bit on the overly cute side, but it actually stands up pretty well to many repeated listens, which is good, since you'll probably be hearing it a lot.

Overall, Sola Rola is not particularly revolutionary, but the game design and the level design are both quality, so this is a game you can easily enjoy. And, as an added bonus, unlike many of the puzzle games on Kongregate, you won't be going insane by the end.


ToastyKen said...

Got stuck on level 17 but I'll get back to it. I love how putting on a couple of googly eyes and adding some dialogue makes the characters adorable and the game more fun to play. I actually feel bad when I end a level before they're finished talking. :P

ToastyKen said...

Oh man I've been stuck on 46 for way too long. There's a step I did once but I can't repeat it. :\

It's both interesting and frustrating how the later levels rely on the difference in inertia between the two.

Paul said...

Actually, I'm not convinced there is a difference between the two. At first, I thought that there was, but later on I became convinced that (despite their different sizes) they actually do behave identically. There were more than a few levels where the first thing I tried was to rely on a difference in inertia, and that would always fail, but I could always find another way around the problem which required more careful planning ahead, but didn't take as much precision.

46 is tricky, though. It took me a while to come up with the solution.