Bees, Bots and Rolandos: playful physics puzzles

IMG_0001.PNGThe three games to be discussed in this post present in my opinion the most interesting game-developments on the iPhone. They are not puzzles in the strict sense as I tend to define it, because they all require a certain amount of dexterity. However, the balance between strategic planning and dexterous maneuvering is well thought through. You won’t solve these with only dexterity! Further, all these games are extremely well made, both visually and auditory. And they are all based on a very refined physical quasi-world, as I have discussed in my previous post. Interestingly, they all take a slightly different approach to which aspect of physics is highlighted: gravity, momentum, and friction.

Are you curious? The games I am referring to are the following (links redirect to iTunes):

IMG_0006.PNGRolando is the latest addition of these, released just last January. However, teaser videos had been circulating for months, stirring up interest. And I have to say, the game completely lives up to its promises. You are controlling a set of rolling balls, called Rolandos, They can push objects around, and in the end have to be guided towards an cave-like exit. The trick is of course not to fall into traps or be eaten by enemies. As for the physics of the game: gravity is always down (so objects and Rolandos fall down), and tilting of the iPhone is used to move the rolandos sideways. The one special ability of Rolandos is jumping to temporarily escape gravity (by using your finger), often enhanced by trampolines to reach higher goals.

IMG_0003.PNGToy Bot Diaries introduces a toy bot lost in a strange world (you will learn more about his fate during the game). Like Rolando, gravity is always down and tilting the iPhone is used to move the toy bot sideways. However, a completely different approach is used to defy gravity. The toy bot can throw a kind of electronic liane to metal objects and use this to lift him up and to swing. The swinging is determined by swinging the iPhone. However, you do not directly influence the swing, but only the momentum of the swing. This gives a really nice feel to the movement. Finally, the toy bot can turn on his magnetic shoes to lift up objects, often needed in combination with swinging to transport objects (like the coin in the screenshot).

IMG_0002.PNGIn Dizzy Bee you control a bee by changing the direction of gravity (by tilting the iPhone). You have get your “fruit friends” and bring them to the exit, collecting flowers as a bonus on the way. And of course you will have to evade enemies that like to squash fruit (and bees). Dexterity is important to solve the puzzles of this game. However, in many levels you will have to find a way to trap the enemies (as shown in the screenshot). The fruit friends (shown on the bottom of the screenshot) all behave as independent object, that have friction depending on their form. Understanding the effects of this friction is central to solve all levels of this cute game.

Summarizing, these three games present really great value in all respects. Even the fact that they do not have completely free level choice (a requirement I find essential for most puzzle games) is suitable in the setting of these games. Take a look at the free versions to make up your own opinion!


One Response to “Bees, Bots and Rolandos: playful physics puzzles”

  1. PuzzleMad Says:

    Try “On Tilt” as a tilting game which does NOT require manual dexterity. tilt the phone and the smiley slides until it stops. The game is about working out the sequence of moves to get it to the star. Add extra blue smiley’s to hinder and help a few worm holes and the levels get more and more interesting. Easy to solve, but devilishly brain testing to complete the puzzle in heh fewest tilts. ON TILT is FREE on i-tunes apps.

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