Gavina Games has released a game called Brick Roll into the App Store. Any denizen of the internet would feel fear and trepidation at the title's very close resemblance to the term "Rick Roll," which is one of the most widely-used forms of trolling. But were we able to get over our fears to find something cool about Brick Roll?
At first glance, you'd think that Brick Roll was a combination of Super Mario Bros. and Pac-Man with a bit of gravitational play mixed in for good measure. And for the most part, you'd be totally correct.
Brick Roll is a puzzle game that spans four different stages that are comprised of levels that will test your wits and reflexes. The objective for each level is to collect all of the small, yellow orbs littered around the different platforms. Your little brick character moves on his own, moving forward by rolling around. It is your job to control his movements in a way that lets him collect all of the orbs while avoiding being hurt by the red enemy bricks or by falling into the blue abyss that surrounds you.
The controls couldn't be simpler: you tap on the left side of the screen to change your brick's rolling direction and tap on the right side to make it jump straight up, hopefully to land on another platform. The levels are built in such a way that it's almost like a puzzle/maze. You must successfully navigate your way around, collecting orbs and finding the right spots to make a jump onto another platform. If you jump at the wrong spot, you'll be in danger of flinging yourself offscreen and into your doom. Being judicious about jump placement is important.
As you roll along, you'll notice that there are a bunch of red bricks roaming around. Hitting these guys will hurt you and cause you to lose a life. Since you only have three lives, it'd be best to avoid these guys altogether. But if you lack the reflexes necessary to juke these annoyances, you can pick up little flashing orbs that act as a power-up and allow you to roll faster and destroy the red bricks. Another way to take out the red bricks is to jump onto a platform in just the right way so that you land on them, knocking them off the platform.
The combination of red bricks, maze-like platforms, spiked traps and boss battles will keep you glued to this surprisingly solid physics-based puzzle-platformer. Once you beat a level, you might be compelled to try your hand at some speed runs and beat your fastest time. Or, if you're the type to explore, you can try to find the secret areas that each hold one of Brick Roll's 30 green orbs.
Thankfully, throughout my time with the game, I never triggered anything that would cause Rick Astley to start playing, so Brick Roll gets bonus points just for letting me avoid a hair-pulling experience. And, to its credit, Brick Roll is a surprisingly good game that has the ability to suck you in.
The secret to its success is that it looks deceptively simple, so each time you fail, it makes you furrow your brow and want to solve it just to prove something to yourself. That's the kind of hook that gets players coming back for more.