This is a Meteor.
This is a rotating platform with holes for Meteors. Meteors fall from top of screen and must be threaded through several rotating platforms all the way to the bottom of the stage, stacking up. The goal is to stack up a certain number of each type of Meteor (Yellow Stars, Green Triangles, Red Cylinders, Blue Cubes, and sometimes Pink Hearts).
Well, then add in platforms with manhole covers that block the holes periodically, manta rays swimming around the platforms trying to block your view, and little Meemoos (evil bear-like things that are the nemesis of Roogoos) that stand over the holes of the platforms. Not to mention, sometimes platforms flip, and, other times, your stacked Meteors will travel up through a platform instead of down. Roogoo Twisted Towers is a new puzzle game from Southpeak Games, and they’re downright proud of it, even going so far as to stick a sticker on the cover proclaiming it as the “Best Puzzler of 2009!” In fact, you can see how much effort they put into this game because they gave an entire story and a whole slew of named characters, albeit very simple ones, to a game that is really classic ol’ Tetris in another form.
Of course, just having the same thing for 90+ levels would be a bit repetitive, even if the levels are all split up onto 10 or so stages with completely different environments. One stage is in a volcano, another is in a city, and yet another is inside a whale. To spice things up even more, the game gives several different types of extra levels, such as one where you use the control stick to fly and collect Meteors while pressing A to blast Meemoos out of the way in a bizarre imitation of a shooting game or where you use the Wiimote to capture butterflies as they fly by on the screen (generally, wherever you point the Wiimote appears as a net on the screen which can be used to catch background objects or dropped shapes). Sometimes, you’ll have to obliterate several obstacles that actually block your view of the screen using the Wiimote and A button, and sometimes you’ll have to keep Meemoos from stealing the Meteors you so painfully stacked. In one stage, even, instead of catching meteors you’re catching treasure boxes, which all have the same shape but different colors.
On top of that, there are also periodic “boss fights,” in which enemies will actively try to hamper your progress. Giant krakens will stick tentacles in the way of your Meteors’ path and, cackling all the while, Charlie the abominable snowman will start spinning the platform just at the last moment, preventing your Meteors from falling in the right holes. Defeating these guys (and several other bosses) require better timing and more skill than you normally need for the other levels.
The whole game is presented in a pretty over-the-top cute and fluffy manner with bright colors and cute mascots that resemble teddy bears with cowlicks. Even the names of the species are cute: Roogoos and Meemoos. The designs for everything, from the background to the obstacles to just the whole idea of saving the world with falling Meteors (which are really just colored blocks with different shapes) were all generally kept very much oriented towards kids, although they are not the sole audience for this game.
In line with this, the game was actually very easy. And short. I managed to finish all the levels at least once (I redid one on Hard mode just to prove I could) in less than 10 hours on Normal, and most of the levels took me only one try to complete. Only by the second to last stage did the levels really start challenging me, but by then there were really only a few levels left.
My overall impression of this game may be tainted by the fact that I’m more of an RPG game player, and thus I prefer a good story behind my game. However, contrary to what you may think I’ll say because of this, I believe that Roogoo Twisted Towers would actually function better without a background story. In fact, I’m not even sure why it has one in the first place. The puzzle game works excellently without one.
With one, I was always expecting an explanation as to WHY I was going certain places or doing certain things, which the game doesn’t even attempt to give, save for once in the very beginning and once in the very end through a series of slideshow-type pictures. Characters are given a purpose in the game’s manual, but nothing is ever explained in the game itself. In fact, the game was more or less a series of puzzles, not some epic journey to save the Planet of Roo.
Usually, I’d be griping for more plot, but this time, I feel that less would have actually been better.
As I said before, this game seemed a bit easy for me, although it did pick up later. The music and graphics weren’t a big part of what I looked for, although the soundtrack did remind me of a very addicting coaster game I found online. It was simple, yet addicting. The graphics were OK. Nothing jumping out at me. Of course, the aim of the franchise was not hi-def in the first place, considering how, again, the theme was “cute and fluffy.”
Another point I’ll have to make before I close is that there is multiplayer in this game, similar to the way Tetris plays out. The screen is split and two players race to see who finishes first / lasts longest. There is also a Party mode, which incorporates four different players. On another note, the game does not go online either, so you’ll actually have to have another person with you in the room playing. I couldn’t actually test this multiplayer mode out because, alas, I am all by my lonely lonesome self, testing this game on the Wii.
While I won’t say that Roogoo Twisted Towers is the “Best Puzzler of 2009,” this game is a good introduction to puzzler games, even if you do have to play the entire game on Hard (or, as the game puts it, “Roogoo Guru”) to get any challenge out of it.