Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid

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.

Rolando 2

Rolando 2

In bloom.

Rolando 2's world is without blemish. Every cloud, tree and roly-poly blob of a character is piped in perfect Pantone, as if someone took away all of Jackson Pollock's flick brushes and instead made him squeeze paint like icing in steady dollops onto the page. It's still pure LocoRoco, of course, but somehow LocoRoco with the contrast turned up: French mustard yellows becoming brilliant suns and petit-pois hills turned deep evergreen.

This near-sterile sort of flawlessness is mirrored too in the game's systems, which, while narrow in scope and ambition, are self-assured. The Rolandos roll smooth and true as you shepherd them toward each level's exit with sometimes-careful and sometimes-exaggerated tilts of the iPhone. The touch-screen controls are economic: tap the screen to advance dialogue, draw boxes over groups or individual Rolandos to select them RTS-style and make jerky upward flicks to jump obstacles. Everything works as it should do, the game excelling in the sort of effortless, intuitive function that comes from a Nintendo-esque attention to interaction.

Of course, it's the game's context that makes you want to applaud these modest triumphs. iTunes may have democratised game publishing but when you open your platform to the world, expectations of what might be possible are soon lowered by a hundred thousand fart apps, Bejeweled clones and two-minute sub-Flash game novelties. The first Rolando was a gemstone in the rubble, a simple, clean game that mightn't have drawn much attention if it appeared on a more traditional handheld, but which, in the context of iPhone's library of mixed amateurism, shone like the greatest game ever made, or, at very least, the most professionally-crafted one.

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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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