Developer: All Things Media
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Know what would make bowling even more exciting? If instead of a ball we used a giant boulder. And instead of pins we used whatever was handy in the environment. Okay it would probably also result in tons of collateral damage, but it would certainly be “exciting!” Luckily we can mess around with such an outlandish concept in a virtual environment through Roll: Boulder Smash, rather than risk a class action lawsuit.

Roll: Boulder Smash is a game about getting a giant rock from one end of a level to the other, while laying waste to anything in between. Smashing, crushing, and otherwise destroying more stuff equates to a larger score at the end, with a combination of points and time taken determining how many (of three) stars are earned. Steering, slowing, and accelerating the huge rock is a simple matter of tilting the iOS device, and there’s no shortage of objects to bowl over. Even once the “story” missions are completed there are a number of challenge levels that task players with meeting specific goals using only their finger to start the ball rolling.

There’s a simple sort of joy to be had in smashing an entire level of jungle critters, penguins, and so on. The cartoony visuals make things even wackier and more entertaining, especially when characters get flattened and stick to the boulder. I also rather enjoyed how Roll: Boulder Smash embraces its more casual nature by avoiding any real way for players to lose a level. They can perform poorly and get a lousy score, sure, but there’s no actual way for them to fail. Falling off track simply resents the boulder and crashing into a solid wall only slows it down. Both have an effect on the completion time but won’t force a restart.

There are also quite a few challenges to complete, mostly of the “knock over X number of Y” category. It’s a little simple and sometimes requires a bit of trial and error since the boulder can’t be course corrected once it’s moving, but overall they’re a nice change of pace from the campaign’s style. Similarly the campaign levels can be a bit tough to navigate at times thanks to the hectic pace of the boulder, the camera angles, all the obstacles, and the not entirely perfect controls, but all of that is easily forgivable seeing as it’s impossible to really lose a level and there are so many visual rewards for all the chaos.

Roll: Boulder Smash is a fairly simple, arcade-like destructive romp, but that’s not really a bad thing in this instance. In fact, it can be quite fun, provided players aren’t expecting anything more than a chaotic good time.

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