SouthPeak Roundup

RooGoo, Monster Madness PS3, Dream Pinball.

SouthPeak has had a ropey start, but its goals are ambitious. We've seen a couple of examples of this already in Two Worlds and Monster Madness, and there are others such as Edge of Twilight, and X-Blades sitting promisingly on the distant horizon. But before that, SouthPeak has the PS3 "overhaul" of Monster Madness to offer us, as well as a Xbox Live Arcade offering called RooGoo. So we picked up our pads and put them through their paces.

RooGoo

  • PC, Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60)
  • Release date: mid-May

RooGoo is simple but rather charming. It has you guiding blocks through similarly-shaped holes in discs by using the triggers to spin them left or right. Shepherd enough blocks down to their final resting place at the bottom and you win, but make too many mistakes and a thorny beanstalk creeps up and up until it reaches the top of your screen and you have to start again.

Making matters more mischievous are stacking requirements before blocks can descend a disc-level; you may need to have four sitting on top of each other, for example, and it changes for each stage. The amount of discs that need to descend changes as well, as does pace and the amount of blocks falling from the top. Other additions, such as butterflies that pick up stacks of blocks and fly them from the bottom up to a higher disc-level, and funny little monsters that obstruct the holes so you have to bounce your stacks of blocks on their heads, mix things up to a greater degree. Get further into the game and you'll see light and dark-shaded blocks of the same type clumped together and falling at once. Light stack on light and vice versa, and you swap them by pressing B.

1

Simple but effective.

Crucially, the penalty for slipping up and not spinning a disc around to the right hole is handled sympathetically. Individual blocks rather than entire stacks fall to the wayside, meaning you still have time to catch the best part of your pile even if you were a bit slow off the mark. It also means that even if you fail to match the light and dark shades correctly, you should only lose the first one or two of your stack before they do match up. Our only worry was that of the 20 levels in the demo, only one or two offered the sort of challenge we were hoping for. If the full version can expand on this and tie our brain in a knot then yes please thank you very much.

Wrapping it all up is Katamari-style presentation with bright colours and simple designs; as pleasing on the eye as the music is on the ear, with its twinkling variety of background accompaniments. There are battle modes for you and a friend or the computer to go head-to-head in, but so far this is limited to declaring the winner on who has done best in a set time limit. The addition of Guitar Hero-style battle attacks to throw off your opponent would be fantastic.

As it stands, at 800 Points, Roogoo is one to keep an eye out for. Hopefully the month or so left before release can account for enough variety and difficulty added to justify full whack.

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