It’s difficult to find a match-3 type puzzler with something new to offer and with Candy Crush and it’s addictive game mechanics dominating the genre, it’s difficult to commit to a similar title but next
time you find yourself waiting for your lives to recharge head over to the App Store and have a look at Rolling Idols: Lost City, a slightly different take on the match-3 formula.
Six elemental gods keep The Lord of Chaos imprisoned, but somehow, he breaks free and starts devouring the elements. Three of the elemental gods escape and start rebuilding the lost city in order to free their brothers and once more imprison The Lord of Chaos. As the city slowly gets rebuilt, the elements are released and start to regain their powers, only when they are all returned can they rebuild the calendar that seals in the evil Nibiru.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward, swap two idols in order to link 3 or more together in a line. It’s quite easy at first, there are only 3 colours on a large board and making groups of 4 or 5 is no problem. To get the biggest reward from a stage you need to finish within a set amount of moves, and you can set 2-3 moves in motion at once however just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should, moving quickly gives you no bonuses, the real points come from combos, essentially, getting consecutive matches of the same element. To stop you just hammering stages out though, you need to match the crystals on the level to unblock the scoring bar, failing to match the gems results in a period where you can’t score and this wastes your moves potentially reducing your rewards at the end of the level. As you progress, more and more crystals are needed and as they appear on random elements they often require you to break out of a combo run to collect them.
Matching 4 idols results in an explosion and matching 5 or more sets off two lightning chains that wipe an entire row or column, so what’s different about Rolling Idols? Every element also has its own unique powers to unlock and upgrade, and as the play areas get more complex with extra colours and obstacles, these powers become necessary to clear levels. The power ups are quite creative and really add an element of strategy and they also make for huge points when used in combos. You can buy and upgrade these abilities using stars earned by clearing levels, getting 3 medals earns you more stars for upgrade.
Rolling Idols looks really good, the colours are bright and easily definable for the most part, it’s easy to mix up the brown power ups with gold though, but you get used to this quickly. Animations are smooth and the effects look quite nice, it’s a nice touch when you set off an explosion and nearby idols not really effected are thrown back. New idols roll in from the top and they sport different expressions. Menus are incredibly easy to use, the whole system is designed to get you on to the next level as quickly as possible but its easy to spend time agonising over your next upgrade choice.
The sound is a little disappointing, the music isn’t bad, but it’s not great either, it would be easy to say its comfortable and while it doesn’t really detract from gameplay it doesn’t add any atmosphere either. Sound effects are barely audible, even when pumped up to max in the options, and this feels like a missed opportunity, even the explosions seem muted and all these different power-ups could have really popped with some decent effects to accompany them, I even tried putting my own music on to spruce it up but this app doesn’t allow for it.
Rolling Idols multitasks really well, and its very stable, if your distracted by another app, you can switch away and back and take up where you left off, even hours after. You can earn premium currency by earning Game Center achievements which you can spend in-game on extra moves. The great thing though is that you don’t need to make any purchases to get everything out of the game. There’s quite a bit to play through, depending on your dedication there’s about 10-20 hours of gameplay but unfortunately, there’s not much replay value, you can clear you save data and start from scratch but it might have been nice to have a plus mode with a little more challenge, perhaps even add in a timer.
Rolling Idols is a great take on the match-3 genre implementing RPG elements to create a more strategic level of gameplay, the audio is a bit of a let down but don’t let it discourage you, it really is a great game with many hours of gameplay well worth the time.
Game Center Achievements 13
Rolling Idols: Lost City Achievements