Key events

20th February 2009

Rolando sequel en route

19th January 2009


HandCircus' Simon Oliver

Rolando's dad on Rolando and the App Store.

Simon Oliver is the embodiment of a dream. He represents what other developers, mining for glory in the wilds of the iTunes App Store, want to uncover; he's an aspirational example to the thunderous horde galloping their way proverbially West with their coding pix-axes held aloft.

ngmoco reinstates Rolando to App Store

Had taken it down to give R2 a clear run.

Publisher ngmoco has reversed its decision to remove Rolando from the iTunes App Store so that Rolando 2 could launch without any competition from the original.

ngmoco not planning 3GS exclusives

ngmoco not planning 3GS exclusives

Neil Young expects to span product line.

Neil Young of iPhone third-party publisher ngmoco has said he doesn't expect his company to start producing games that are exclusive to the new iPhone 3GS.

"I don't think so," he told MTV when asked about the possibility. "I think we'll continue to build games for [all of] the three classes of devices that are out there."

"Obviously they all share the same operating system and have some slight differences in hardware, but we'll build our software to span across those three," he clarified.

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Apple "so far ahead" with digital platform

Rivals will need to act quick - Rolando man.

Rolando creator Simon Oliver reckons Apple's App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch is "so far ahead" that rivals Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will have to react quickly or risk being left behind.

GDC: Rolando 2 and 3 confirmed

GDC: Rolando 2 and 3 confirmed

More free levels promised, too.

Ngmoco founder Neil Young has confirmed that two sequels are on the way for iPhone game Rolando.

The first one will be released in June and titled Rolando 2: The Quest for the Golden Orchid. Young said it will be "a whole new game" complete with four worlds, 36 levels and "a bunch of new mechanics and features".

Free level updates will follow, as was the case with the first Rolando game. Then Rolando 3 is planned for release in November - followed by yet more free levels.

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Rolando update adds five new levels

Rolando update adds five new levels

Game has seen 700,000 downloads.

Touch Arcade reports that Rolando, the excellent iPhone platformer, has received a free update that includes five "secret" levels.

The new version of the game also improves its physics and rendering engine. The first level is unlocked when you finish the first world of the game's story; the rest are unlocked as you complete them in sequence.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail claims that Rolando has now been downloaded 700,000 times, and that creator Simon Oliver "is on track to make his first million".

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Rolando price cut, more levels soon

Sequel and free new levels on the way.

Rolando publisher ngmoco has cut the price of the iPhone stunnah to GBP 2.99 / USD 4.99, and said that not only is a sequel in development, but free levels for the original will be released soon too.

Rolando sequel en route

Rolando sequel en route

HandCircus pulling strings.

Rolando developer HandCircus has said work on a sequel to the acclaimed iPhone game is already under way.

That's according to excellent website Offworld, which also reminds us that the free, Lite version of Rolando is on the App Store too.

There are no further details about the sequel.

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More Rolando activity in 2009

Plus, demo "coming very soon".

Rolando developer Simon Oliver has hinted that we will see more of the cute little rolling-blobs platform-puzzler in 2009.

iPhone driving mobile gaming boom

Smartphones overshadow thick-phones.

Owners of the sleek iPhone accounted for 14 per cent of all mobile gaming downloads across the US during November 2008, according to a comScore report.

Rolando price cut to GBP 3.49

One of the iPhone's best gets cheaper.

No sooner do we get our accelerometers in a twist over ngmoco's excellent Rolando than the publisher cuts the price to GBP 3.49.



Starring roll.

Rolando may have a lot in common with LocoRoco - simple, colourful graphics free from outlines and textures, smiling, charismatic blobs and tilt-based controls - but it's a forgivably cynical way to catch the attention of App Store browsers; a split-second sales-pitch in a market where pixels and prose are at a premium. As a strategy it's not without risk, either: LocoRoco is a fond memory, and tarnishing it would imperil the goodwill ngmoco has built up with its cheap and cheerful catalogue of early releases. Ultimately it's shrewd, if slightly disappointing, because Rolando is its own game, among the best the iPhone has to offer, and would still have been had the developer, HandCircus, come up with its own signature visuals.

The first and most obvious distinction between Rolando and LocoRoco is that rolandos only react to players tilting the screen once they have been selected, either individually with a tap or as a group with a drag-box. Otherwise they stand still, immune to your input. Once under your control, they can be made to jump by an upward flick of the thumb, or deselected with a quick tap on an empty part of the screen, and this brings them to a near-instant standstill. Immediately Rolando overcomes one of LocoRoco's biggest issues - regularly losing control of disparate blobs and suffering the consequences - and shows similar restraint in its economical use of the iPhone touch-screen.

The goal is still to transport as many of the creatures under your control to the end as possible, but levels are short, and split up further still by state-saving checkpoint balloons, while rolando-killing enemies are set on specific repeating movement paths, and don't roam off-course looking for a frustrating fight, like LocoRoco's Mojas. The tilt controls are also precisely calibrated: rolandos take a split second to speed up, and there's an appreciable deadzone to soften the initial lurch. Staying in control and out of trouble is in your hands, but supported by HandCircus, and it's hard not to conclude that Rolando's developers weren't just conscious of the tilt-and-touch control system's potential imprecision, but obsessed with it.

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