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Rolando (video game)

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Title: Rolando (video game)  
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Rolando (video game)


Developer(s) HandCircus[1]
Publisher(s) ngmoco
Distributor(s) Apple
Designer(s) Simon Oliver (game)
Mikko Walamies (art)
Engine Box2D[2]
Platform(s) iOS
Release date(s) December 18, 2008 (2008-12-18)
Genre(s) Adventure, puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Digital distribution

Rolando is a puzzle-adventure video game developed by HandCircus and published by ngmoco. It was released for the iOS on December 18, 2008, and uses the Box2D game engine.

Rolando's gameplay revolves around navigation of "Rolandos", small ball-like creatures, throughout a fictional world known as "Rolandoland". Rolando has received generally positive reviews by the video game community, and a sequel, Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid has since been released. A third game was announced and later cancelled.


The goal of the game is to save Rolandoland from an invasion of little shadow creatures. The inhabitants of Rolandoland are the Rolandos, which are little ball-shaped creatures. Rolandos must be directed to safety by tilting the iPhone or iPod Touch and using different bonus items like conveyor belts and elevators.

The Rolandos proceed through a series of worlds before eventually finding and defeating the leader of the shadow creatures.


Rolando gameplay

Each stage has a required number of Rolandos that must escape if the player wants to advance to the next stage. Players can manipulate objects in the world and can tilt an iPhone or iPod Touch to move the Rolandos through the stage. The player rolls the Rolandos either one at a time or in groups, selected by drawing boxes over the intended Rolandos. By swiping one's finger up, the selected Rolandos jump. The player gets help from the Rolando commandos, an elite group of sticky balls that grip surfaces and defy gravity. In contrary to normal Rolandos, these creatures can also stick to the ceiling. This game also features tutorial levels in the first world, which explain the controls and how to play. One may be very familiar with the controls, but it will take a long time to master them.[3]

Music and art

The soundtrack for Rolando is largely from the discography of Large Pies EP).[4] Simon Oliver, Rolando's creator, called Mr. Scruff's contribution "icing on the cake" for the game.[5]

All of the art for the game was created by Mikko Walamies, an illustrator based in Finland. Oliver sent Walamies videos, level layouts, and other development media without ever meeting the illustrator in person. However, Oliver described the relationship positively, saying that their "ideas always seem to be in sync."[6] Walamies made available high-resolution art from Rolando on his website in February 2009.[7]


Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 7/10[8]
Eurogamer 8/10[9]
IGN 9.5/10[3]
Slide To Play 4/4[10]
PocketGamer 10/10[11]

Rolando currently has a 4 out of 5 star rating on the United States' App Store. IGN gave the game a 9.5 out of 10 rating. The game was voted as Best iPhone Game of 2008 by the Boston Herald, VentureBeat, and 148 Apps and is winner of Pocket Gamer's Platinum Award.[3] Edge Online gave Rolando a 7 out of 10 rating, criticizing the game for using graphics and ideas similar to LocoRoco.[8]

Version history

Version 1.1 of the game was released on March 16, 2009 and includes five secret levels with the Honeycup Meadows theme.[12][13]

Version 1.2 of the game was released on April 21, 2009 and added two more secret levels based on the Fire Canyon theme, and reveals the remaining secret levels as locked icons, bringing the final level count to fifty-six levels. The game was updated weekly with more levels until the release of Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid.[14][15]

Rolando Lite was released February 4, 2009 and includes the first eight levels in Honey Cup Meadows, and later, one secret level in the Rolando Lite 1.1 update.


Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid

In February 2009, ngmoco announced two sequels to Rolando. Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid is similar to its predecessor in that it is a puzzle-based platformer, however, new characters and settings allow new types of movement and some offensive action against the antagonists.

Also new to Rolando 2 are "Golden Idols" which, when acquired, will allow a player to skip some of the more challenging puzzles. Golden Idols are found throughout the levels of Rolando 2.


  1. ^ "About HandCircus". HandCircus. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  2. ^ "iPhone port of Box2D Testbed now available". HandCircus. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  3. ^ a b c Buchanan, Levi (2008-12-12). "Rolando iPhone Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  4. ^ "Rolando Music...?". Mr. Scruff. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  5. ^ Schramm, Mike (2008-12-18). "TUAW Interview: Rolando's Simon Oliver is ready for release". TUAW. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  6. ^ Jordan, Jon (2009-04-02). "The making of Rolando: iPhone’s first 10/10 game". PocketGamer. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  7. ^ Walamies, Mikko (2009-02-08). "Game Design: Rolando". MW82. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  8. ^ a b "Review: Rolando". Edge Online. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  9. ^ Bramwell, Tom (2009-01-19). "Rolando Review". EuroGamer. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  10. ^ Palley, Steve (2009-03-16). "Rolando Review". Slide to Play. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  11. ^ Erickson, Tracy. "Rolando: Look What Rolled In". PocketGamer. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  12. ^ "App Store Updates: The Story behind Rolando 1.1". ngmoco. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  13. ^ "Spring is in the air". HandCircus. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  14. ^ "Announcing Rolando 2". HandCircus. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  15. ^ "More Rolando Secret Levels". HandCircus. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 

External links

  • Official HandCircus website
    • websiteRolandoOfficial
  • Official ngmoco website
  • App Store profileRolando
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