It’s a simple concept, one that almost everyone has spent hours experimenting with at some point. There are blocks, and there are holes. Only certain shaped blocks fit in certain holes. Roogoo takes this idea and spins in elements of tetris for an interesting new twist on a very old concept. Along with colorful and cutesy graphics, the simple yet challenging gameplay makes Roogoo quite addictive.
In Roogoo, you take on the role of a lone Roogoo on a quest to destroy the evil Meemoo Empire, which is composed of Roogoos who have been corrupted by city living and selfish impulses. You can take or leave the social commentary, the plot is rather sparse and has little to do with the game itself, aside from serving as a rather generic premise. Once you begin the actual game, however, the lack of plot is forgotten in a rush of colorful falling meteors. As these meteors fall, you must rotate a series of disks so that meteors of the proper shape fall through their corresponding openings. Some disks may have a weight requirement, so that a certain number of meteors must be collected before they are heavy enough to push through to the next level. Roogoo starts out deceptively simple, with only three varieties of meteor and a small number of disks.
After a few introductory stages though the game begins to mix it up in a major way. The number of meteor shapes can increase, up to six at a time in the later stages, with just as many varieties falling at the same time. The game is never malicious in the way meteors fall, however, as if two varieties fall at the same time you are guaranteed to be able to line them both up properly. Whether you’re a fast and precise enough disk spinner is another question entirely. The game continues to increase exponentially in difficulty throughout the 45 stages with a slew of other tricks such as flipping disks that you must time blocks to fall through properly, butterflies that reverse your direction, Meemoos who stand obstinately in your way, and even Meemoos who will slash your meteors to pieces with swords, nevermind that someone seems to be turning up the gravity all throughout. The only thing that may keep you from throwing your controller at the game in frustration is that fact that it’s so charmingly cute.
Aside from the addictive gameplay, Roogoo is also a treat to look at, especially for those of you who feel that games nowadays are entirely too brown. You may be hard pressed to even find brown in the game, whose color palate consists almost entirely of bright primaries accompanied by a bright background wash of pastels. Characters seen in the introduction and a couple small plot cutscenes are almost mindnumbingly cute, although due to the nature of the game you won’t be spending much time looking at them.
Even after (or if) you beat the 45 rounds included in Roogoo, it’s still a great multiplayer game as well. The mechanics aren’t complicated and the game offers both cooperative and competitive modes. However, those playing with a friend who doesn’t have the game should at least have the good grace to explain the challenges as they come along, as all the hints present in the single player campaign are missing in multiplayer, leading to a great deal of “what is going on?!” on the part of whoever hasn’t been though Roogoo before. For the same reason, playing cooperative the first time through with a friend isn’t a good idea, as neither of you will have any idea what’s going on.
Roogoo is one of those games you need to be either on drugs or a zen master to truly appreciate, but regardless, many will find it addictive and possibly infuriating in a cute kind of way. At its core, the game is really quite simple, and this minimalism makes it extremely easy to get into, while the added twists will keep you coming back for more challenging rounds.
Eight out of ten