Rolling Sun; a physics based, side scrolling game based in CryEngine, named so because “Physics Ball” isn’t all too catchy.
When the menu loads, the player is greeted by stunning visuals that show the incredible backdrop that rolling around, albeit slightly lost, will be an absolute delight. The menu is extremely simple such as in the settings, it only has the graphic options (such as Low that would be running on the most feeble of computers.. such as mine, jumping to High that challenges graphics cards to a fight,) after toying around in the menu, jumping into the game was the next logical step.. well it was the only step.
When the game starts, there’s no explanation or narrative to a story, no explanation to where you’re meant to go, no anything. It has a “Once you’ve figured out the way, then I’ll hand you a piece of story” way of explaining things, this I like, it feels like the player is being rewarded for being curious around the landscape. The game boasts controller support that allows the small movements to be much more precise, making the experience much easier to digest. Upon rolling around the physics puzzles become a lot more complex but it leads to a slight problem, when falling off a ledge (and I fell down ALOT, because I’m terrible at puzzle games) because of the way the shadows are placed it makes the small gaps almost impossible to see, granted it’s a small problem, but it makes some of the movement much more tricky. When completing the second level the game, different powers become unlocked, this allows more complex movements of the ball, as the level design becomes more complex in itself.
The controls for this game are as simple as expected to start with, W,A,S,D rolls the ball around and Space allows the jump function, as the game progressed and I found myself increasingly stuck on a section, finding out that the ability to double jump is available. Although there was no tutorial to tell me that, it makes the experience much more engaging, because I figured it out myself so I started to see what else the ball could do, it added to the challenge but didn’t hold my hand through the early stages. However, I would welcome the chance to map the keyboard to my own preferences, because I’d personally feel much more comfortable controlling the ball by using the arrow keys.
As mentioned before Rolling Sun’s physics are created in CryEngine and it is very fluid. When first starting the game the ball’s control can take some getting used to, this is because how much like a real ball it is, there’s no strange hanging in the air, there’s no bizarre movements, in that area it’s actually very lifelike.
The music is simplistic and couples the action well, it really adds to the mystical feel of the game, as the player progresses through the game the music almost progresses with them, giving a real sense of achievement.
Now, the game unfortunately is quite short, only 6 levels + 3 bonus levels. but this shows the vast potential that’s on offer. Since the gameplay was very tight, graphics spot on (apart from the odd texture glitch found here and there) mixed with the strangely relaxing music, this gives a huge platform for the game to jump off and knowing that the development team is minuscule (One person actually) further adds to the character of this project. It would be good to see the next steps from here, maybe new powers to the ball, maybe new levels with harder puzzles or any other additions to increase the gameplay in this beautifully natural world.