Guiding perpetually moving characters can be quite fun when done right. In comes the simplistically-titled Rolling Bob where you draw platforms for a little cute robot chum on his quest to save his robo-pals but is it any good?
If you've ever played Kirby: Canvas Curse (AKA Kirby: Power Paintbrush) or Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (AKA Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush) then you're already well on your way to understand how to play Rolling Bob. Basically, the little fellow keeps moving along and you have to draw paths for him so he can roll himself forward and out of harm's way. You do so by tilting the DualShock 4 controller which is so underutilized in this fashion that I honestly forgot it had motion detection. Thankfully, it's handled very well here and after playing a few stages, you'll be moving the controller so naturally that if anyone were to watch you, you'll seem quite silly.
Additional controls involve slamming on the brakes, accelerating, and reversing direction which are all conveniently handled with only two shoulder buttons. As you command Bob with these controls and draw lines to guide him and other ones to cut off hazards such as flames, it all comes together to form an enjoyable dynamic that's surprisingly challenging, too.
Rolling Bob's world will charm the pants off of you as it's inhabited by cute chibi robots that range from young to old. Bob is quite a delight himself complete with a Mega Man style helmet. The story involves a celebration where old robots are recycled into new robots (or something like that) but their valuable giant orb that acts as a catalyst in this process is threatened so Bob must save the day. It's an endearing premise indeed and the world itself does a great job of matching its loveliness.
Rolling Bob merely consists of a single player campaign where you work through stage after stage. It's very long with a few areas to master and many stages that can eventually take over fifteen minutes each to pass. You'll run into a few bosses, too, that are crazy difficult at first but once you figure out the trick to beating them, it's super-satisfying.
Considering you're given a score at the end of each stage as well as the time it took you to complete it, it's disappointing that there are no leaderboards. It takes a great deal of skill to achieve high scores so not being able to show them off is definitely a big letdown. Also, it would have been cool to be able to play with other people but there is only the one single player mode and that's it.
Finally, let's discuss a couple of gameplay issues. First of all, you have to have a lot of patience in order to enjoy Rolling Bob. If you just try and rush through it, you'll fail miserably and it quickly turns into a frustrating experience. On the other hand, if you slowly work your way through then making progress is very rewarding. Secondly, I found that drawing lines can be annoying at times; specifically, when the camera automatically pans around. Imagine you're trying to draw a straight line then the camera pans down thus making you accidentally draw a spike in the path. It can be irritating stuff. Luckily, you can always draw a new line and erase the one you messed up.
Even with its flaws, Rolling Bob is such a delightful game to play yet it maintains a level of challenge that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. I can already tell that this is going to be one of the most underrated games of the year.
- + Fun gameplay that acts like a trickier version of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
- + Lengthy and challenging campaign
- + Charming world and story
- - Could use more content such as leaderboards or some sort of multiplayer
- - Less patient gamers will find it frustrating
- - Moving camera can make drawing tough