PolyRoll started its life as a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game in 2010 and has gone through a bunch of growth since then. Now on the Nintendo Switch, you play as Poly Roll, which is one of those roly poly bugs. It is your job is to fight your way through 11 bosses and save your friends from the clutches of the evil Kaiser Kiwi.
The gameplay of PolyRoll is familiar and fun. Things differ from its inspiration in a few mechanics. You have 2 buttons here. One is jump and the other is your super shell spin. This allows you to attack but also has you bouncing and ricocheting off walls. You’ll need to get used to all of the mechanics the spin offers if you want to progress in the game. Speaking of mechanics, there are plenty of power ups for you to get including the ability to walk on spikes, drop bombs, and float with a feather. Another difference from the infamous hedgehog is instead of collecting rings to stay alive, you have 3 heart containers which you lose one for each hit you take. You can replenish each heart by collecting 10 small gems.
The look of the world is simple but vibrant. You start on an overworld reminiscent of Super Mario 3 where you navigate which level you want to visit. Once you enter a stage you start to see the games main influence. If sonic was the inspiration behind the game, they took the look from the master system version. Not to say it’s stuck in 8bit because there are scaling and rotation effects and a seemingly larger color palette than an 8bit system can offer. However They are still able to keep that classic feeling. This goes for the music as well. Most of the tunes are catchy and appropriate. I say most because there was one that was a bit out of place and slow but that’s subjective. The sound effects also meet expectations.
My only real gripe with the PolyRoll is the gem collection requirement. There are 3 hidden gems per level and in order to unlock new areas to progress you must find a certain amount. So you can be blasting through levels only to find you have to go back through old levels before you can start new ones. It inspires replayability but personally I don’t like being forced to go back to progress in a platformer.
Despite my distaste for backtracking the gameplay itself is really fun. The boss enemies are unique and can pose a challenge to figure out. The levels are generally designed well with lots of room to find secrets and platform puzzles that will test your skills at times. The game is also fairly forgiving with its infinite lives system.
All in all it’s a fun budget title to play if you are on the go or only want to sit down and play a game without a huge time investment. If you are a fan of the blue blur you’ll probably enjoy this one.
Our channel recently did a live stream of Polyroll where I played the game for the first time. Check it out to see the game in action!
*Poly Roll is available now on Nintendo Switch for $9.99.