Developer: Lemon Jam Studio
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

ROTATE – A Rotating World is one of those games that is equally brutal in terms of both its simplicity and difficulty. Whatever the game lacks in depth it makes up for with its variety, difficulty, and its ultra-simple pick-up-and-play nature.

When players pick up ROTATE, the game breaks down all of its mechanics up front. The goal is to tap and send a yellow square flying up the screen, with the idea being to get as high as possible while collecting green and red circles, which add to a score counter. Spinning discs allow players to change their trajectory along the way to avoid spikes, aim for more red and green circles, or hit cannons that automatically launch the square in a preset direction.

This may sound confusing, but it isn’t. It’s actually the opposite. The game’s abstract nature lends itself for a pretty neat and minimalist aesthetic, but makes it hard to articulate in words (just see the video and screens below). With clear-cut visuals that match the bare-bones structure, ROTATE delivers a very polished, though simple, arcade experience.

006004Although ROTATE is simple, it is extremely difficult. It moves at a rapid pace and does not allow for much downtime at all, making keeping up with the changing environment and timing taps a very hectic and challenging experience. There is literally nowhere in for players to hang back and assess the situation before moving forward, as spinning discs disappear if players stay on them for too long. Also, did I mention that the game ends if the yellow square hits the edge of the environment? Both of these features require players to be extremely accurate and quick, resulting in many play sessions that end with a high score of 1.

While ROTATE‘s simplicity and difficulty are admittedly intriguing, it isn’t by any means a particularly special game. It feels like games of ROTATE‘s ilk come out all the time on the App Store, although many of them don’t have the cool aesthetic. On top of this, it’s rather shallow as a result of its simplicity, so players’ mileage may vary based on how into this kind of thing they are and how long they’re willing to put up with the difficulty curve. And I would be remiss not to mention that – as a free-to-play game – it offers an in-app purchase to get rid of the ads that pop up after almost every game session, which can be annoying.

In the end, ROTATE is a perfectly fine game that may satisfy for a bit, but there is precious little to it. In some ways this may be a good thing, but it mostly means that it feels more like a quick diversion than a fully-fledged experience.


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