Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Scientists may have long believed that the center of the Earth is a core of super-heated molten rock, but have they ever considered that there may be a race of squat green caretakers down there living in a zero-gravity environment and constantly stoking the furnaces that power our planet? Probably not. However improbable, this giant stretch of the imagination is the premise of the iOS game Roping Rob.
The Robs are a race that dwell in the center of the earth and see that the planet's furnaces are always running. They live there and they stay there. None of them has ever been to the surface, and none have ever wanted to try. Until now. One Rob longs to see the surface and they sky and visit the humans that dwell on the surface. To accomplish his dream he will use his grappling hook to climb and swing his way up a cavernous path from the Earth's center to it's surface. On his way he'll have to navigate over tricky terrain, avoid obstacles like falling rocks and even use tools to break through to the surface.
The game's mechanics are fairly simple, but the physics are very tricky. The player touches anywhere on the screen and the Rob's grappling hook shoots out from his backpack attaching to any surface. Once attached, the hook pulls the Rob up and the Rob will swing back and forth. By touching again the player can detach the hook and send the Rob flying in an arc based on the trajectory of his swing. It feels very much like a cross between two different traversal games like Hook Champ and Rolando. Getting the swings and releases right can be downright impossible on some levels and it will get frustrating when it takes dozens of attempts to pass what seems like a simple obstacle.
The Roping Rob experience doesn't include many bells and whistles, but that simplicity isn't what hold the game back. Simple, focused games are often the most enjoyable. Roping Rob does suffer from some inconsistent level design though. When the level design work well with the physics and the roping mechanic the game is great fun, but when the three don't play to each other's strengths the experience is greatly diminished.