Hands On: Rolling Sky 1.0 (iOS)

From:MacNN Staf 01/07/2016

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Roll your way to a high score in Rolling Sky, a challenging reflex-based game.

Ready to have your reflexes tested? What about your memory? What about both at the same time? That's exactly what will happen when you check out Rolling Sky, the newest game we've been addicted to.

Now, we fancy ourselves pretty good at the runner genre at this point, regardless of them being endless runners or otherwise, but we're not ashamed to tell you: Rolling Sky is hard. It's not just "a little hard," but rather a genuine challenge. We found ourselves cursing every time we scooted the little ball too far off the track. We found ourselves muttering in frustration every time we forgot about some bit of floor that fell away at the exact wrong second. However, we also found ourselves playing the game over and over again.


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Rolling Sky is half quick-reflex, half memorization. The objective is to make it to the end of a very long track, peppered with all sorts of hazards. You're going to die while playing this game, and before you even bother downloading it, you're going to have to make peace with that.


The game doesn't introduce new mechanics through helpful tool tips or slow integration. No, the game introduces things fast and without explanation, leaving you to find out what they do on their own. For example, sometimes you'll be rolling along, only to find out that the reason the floor looked different in the area you just got to is because it was a floor that would fall away if you spent too long on it. That's the sort of thing you'll be dealing with.


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We've said that the runner genre is over-saturated, and honestly it is, but there's something addicting about Rolling Sky. The game is well-designed, genuinely challenging, and overall a joy to play. There's not a lot of forgiveness in the game, but it's not because the game is designed incorrectly. To the contrary: the game is designed very well. The controls are tight, the game runs without any sort of lag, loading or input, and the visuals are simple and easy to read. We're even a fan of the sort-of-ambient not-quite-techno music that plays in the background.


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We will make mention that Rolling Sky is a free game with pay-to-play mechanics. You're given 20 balls to start out with, and should you run out of them, you'll have to obtain more before you can play anything else. There's a few different ways to get more balls, including watching advertisements, waiting for them to naturally regenerate over time, or paying $2 to unlock the full game with unlimited lives. Honestly? We're not mad that this was the route they chose to go, because it keeps the game from being crowded with annoying advertisements, but still gives the developers a chance at making revenue should a player enjoy their game enough. So consider that the real price of the game is $2, and the initial 20 balls are the free trial.


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So yes, there are too many runners on the App Store. We'll stand by this statement from now until the end of time, or at least until runners become a genre of obscurity and no longer make game of the week. That being said, Rolling Sky is a genuinely great game that tests both your reflexes, and your ability to remember just where on the track those hazards happen to be. If you're interested, Rolling Sky is free, and works on both the iPad and the iPhone.