Roogoo DS and Wii Combo Review: Do You Roogoo?

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First released last year on Xbox Live Arcade and PC, SpiderMonk Entertainment’s falling-block puzzle game Roogoo has now fallen onto Nintendo’s platforms: Roogoo: Twisted Towers is the waggle-enhanced Wii version, Roogoo Attack! the condensed portable edition for the DS. Now you can Roogoo when you’re at home and on the go!

Whether you play on the Wii or DS (or PC/XBLA), the core gameplay of Roogoo follows the same core story and mechanics. You must save Planet Roo, the once peaceful home planet to adorable creatures known as the Roogoo, from the corruption of the evil Meemoo, a greedy group of Roogoo that have given in to the dark side and have begun to abuse the Magical Meteors that power the planet.

To succeed in your quest, you must ensure that all of the Magical Meteors, taking the form of different colored shapes including red cylinders, blue cubes, yellow stars, green triangles and pink hearts, make it safely through a series of rotating discs floating in the atmosphere above the planet. These discs have holes cut out of them in the different shapes of the meteors, and as the meteors fall you must rotate the discs so that the blocks fall through the appropriate holes. Get all of the meteors down to and through the final platform and you complete the stage and move on to the next. However, if you don’t properly align the discs the incoming meteors will bounce off, and if you lose too many you fail the mission.

Block-falling puzzlers are a dime a dozen nowadays, but Roogoo puts a neat spin on the genre that is unique and a lot of fun. It’s also cute enough to eat!

Both versions offer multiple difficulty settings for casual players on the low end up to Roogoo gurus on the high end, and the levels are fairly basic and easy to manage early on. But as you work through the 100+ levels each version has to offer – you can sync your DS with your Wii to unlock more bonus levels in both games too, which is pretty cool – various obstacles are introduced to make your Magical Meteor guiding duties more challenging, like puzzle discs that periodically spin around and hole covers that open and close. Skydiving shooter missions are also scattered throughout both games — I guess to give a periodic break from the puzzles — but they feel out of place, control poorly and aren’t the least bit entertaining.

Twisted Towers and Attack! each have their own unique challenges and platform advantages as well, which I’ll break down individually for you right now.

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Twisted Towers is the best version to get for a number of reasons. The Wii’s motion controls, in particular, are put to effective use in introducing an extra dimension of challenge and spontaneity the other Roogoo games lack. During puzzles, various creatures fluttering around in the background, such as butterflies and bats, will attempt to interfere with your blocks. But with the Wii Remote you can point at the screen and swipe with an on-screen net to capture the pesky little buggers. If you’re quick enough, you can also use the net to catch any blocks you fail to match with the correct hole, which keeps the fail meter from rising as much as usual.

By aiming at the screen and hitting the A button, you can shoot out hammers as well. In the standard levels this is used to hit items and creatures in the background for bonus points, but it’s also an important mechanic used in many of the game’s cool new boss battles, like this giant squid that tries to swat away falling blocks with his tentacles and a fleet of Meemoo pirate ships firing at you with cannons.

With some of these more elaborate level designs, however, your view of the puzzle discs and blocks can become obstructed quite easily, and in turn you may lose because you simply can’t see where a line of blocks is going and/or which direction you need to rotate the next disc. Fortunately, this isn’t a flaw you have to deal with for the entire game. You’ll experience it for a level here and a level there, and that’s about it.

Roogoo: Twisted Towers, benefiting from a larger TV viewing space and certain features only possible on the Wii, is a cut above the DS version — and the previous PC/XBLA game too for that matter — in almost every way with its crazier, more elaborate puzzle designs (it’s not called Twisted Towers for nothing, y’all!), adorable graphics that seem more at home on the Wii than the other platforms, and slightly deeper set of multiplayer modes allowing two players to compete in split-screen puzzle races and up to four player to co-op through the story mode. It’s the most expensive Roogoo game at $30, but it’s also the deepest, so you get what you pay for. This is definitely a great puzzle game to pick up for your Wii.

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Pros:
+ Fun block-falling puzzler with a unique spin
+ Puzzles are diverse and creative
+ Good motion control implementation
+ Inventive new boss battles
+ Adorable graphics and presentation

Cons:
– Lame, out-of-place skydiving missions
– High screen activity and longer-distance views make it difficult to see puzzle platforms sometimes

Game Info:
Platform: Wii
Publisher: SouthPeak Games
Developer: SpiderMonk Entertainment
Release Date: 7/2/09
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-4

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Roogoo Attack! on the DS is a much more straightforward puzzler than its Wii counterpart. Unlike the more complex, multi-directional puzzle layouts of Twisted Towers, Attack!’s puzzles all flow vertically down the DS’s dual screens — the puzzle discs are stacked one on top of the other without any deviation in direction. The DS version does mix things up with puzzles that have you stacking up snowmen or hamburgers in the proper order in place of sorting blocks by shape, but other than that it’s about as basic a puzzle game as you’re going to find on the DS.

This condensed format works well in the handheld gaming arena, but at the same time it also takes away many unique qualities that would have better distinguished this game from the bajillion other DS puzzle games on the market. As is, Roogoo Attack! is a good, solid puzzler, but perhaps a bit too vanilla to stand out and really grab the attention of most gamers. It’s a good value at only $20, but I’d really only recommend a purchase if you’re an existing fan looking to Roogoo on the road.

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Pros:
+ Fun block-falling puzzler with a unique spin
+ Multiplayer supports both single-card and multi-card play
+ Adorable graphics and presentation
+ Good value at $20

Cons:
– Lame, out-of-place skydiving missions
– Not enough level diversity or puzzle variation

Game Info:
Platform: DS
Publisher: SouthPeak Games
Developer: SpiderMonk Entertainment
Release Date: 7/2/09
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-4 (Supports Single-Card and Multi-Card play)

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!