Art Style: Rotozoa Review

Another testament to the brilliance of Art Style and WiiWare.

By Andy Hoover. Posted 08/19/2010 14:10 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Outstanding gameplay, visuals, and music
Poison Mushroom for...
Could use a bit more content

Art Style: Rotozoa Screenshot

Rotozoa is yet another Art Style game that does the series proud by delivering old school gameplay in an artistically unique and compelling package. While most Art Style titles have focused on the puzzle genre, Rotozoa takes a slightly different path by adding in a strong action element, thus creating an experience that feels more hectic but ultimately delivers just as much fun.

In Rotozoa, the player controls a rotozoan, a circular creature with tentacles that must absorb goobugs to make its tentacles longer. The rotozoan’s tentacles come in a variety of colors and can only absorb goobugs of the same color. If it touches a goobug of the wrong color, the tentacle will break off at the point of contact and the rotozoan loses one of its life points. The core gameplay requires maneuvering the rotozoan around the screen while rotating the creature to line up its tentacles with the constantly moving goobugs of the proper color. The fact that the tentacles sway realistically with the momentum of the rotozoan adds to the challenge.

These mechanics are used throughout Rotozoa’s three modes. The main game consists of three sets of five levels. In the first set the rotozoa has two tentacles, in the second it has three, and in the third it has four. A stage is completed once the tentacles reach a certain length, but the frequency with which certain goobugs appear varies from stage to stage, making some tentacles easy to grow and others quite challenging. Playing the main mode unlocks Endless mode, where the point is to survive as many waves of goobugs as possible before losing every health point. The final mode is Snake, in which the the rotozoan has one tail growing out its back while the front is invincible to goobugs of every color. The objective in Snake is pretty much the same as in Endless, but ultimately feels more satisfying because its gameplay is more streamlined but ultimately becomes just as difficult when the tentacle reaches absolutely ridiculous lengths.

Of course this wouldn’t be an Art Style review without some talk of the sights and sounds. Rotozoa’s visuals give the player the impression they are looking through a microscope at a culture of single celled organisms; bacteria like microbes move about in the background while the goobugs look like other, similarly simple life forms. Unfortunately, the rotozoan looks considerably less organic so it stands out as a little foreign looking, but that could be intentional. The music is also unique and satisfying, consisting primarily of odd, percussive rhythmic figures with definite African and Asian vibes. However, the best part comes when the rotozoan makes contact with a goobug and the game producs one of many, more melodic sound effects. The mix of the percussion driven music and sound effects effectively creates a spontaneous sound track that is never the same twice.

Altogether, Rotozoa is an incredibly enjoyable game to play with no real faults in its aesthetic or mechanical design. The only real complaint one can make against the game is that the 15 levels and two extra modes don’t offer that much content, but the addictive gameplay and low price of 600 Wii Points mostly negate that. For Art Style fans, Rotozoa is an absolute must buy, and for everybody else it is a great entry point into this fantastic series of clever and compelling games.

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