Challenging as spheres: “Rolling Sky” for Nintendo Switch (impressions)
There is a group of gamers out there who will really enjoy Rolling Sky by Rising Win Tech. The game has that “just once more” thing going for it that some may see as frustrating, but others see as a challenge to be taken down!
Rolling Sky sounds like a simple enough game on paper. You play as a ball that you steer through a constantly scrolling maze of obstacles in which you just try and make it all the way to the end of the level, all while listening to a sweet soundtrack! The game is simple and fun, but it is a TOUGH game, and most of that toughness stems from the controls rather than the game itself.
When you first play Rolling Sky, there are no tutorials or anything to explain the game, but it is not hard to figure it out. You tilt the controller to roll your marble, and try and pick up a few gems (or crowns in later levels) scattered along the way. The gems only appear to be an extra challenge and do not have any bearing on the rest of the game, as far as I can tell. There is no score, so the only thing you are going for is completing the level, and if you want, picking up the few gems or crowns just to show off your studliness!
After playing a bit, you start to figure out that once you complete the first 10% of the level or so, then you can start burning through the few retry options that the game gives you. Plus, when you retry, you are given temporary invulnerability, so you can at least make it a little further than you were before. Still, you will blow through those retries faster than you may think, and then it’s back to the beginning of the level again! Just getting through to the point where you can use retries is hard as heck on some levels… Still, even after losing over and over and over, you do start to learn the level layout, and the controls start to gel with you, then you find yourself getting a little further each time.
You can also change the skin of your marble, and certain skins give you various bonuses, such as having a chance at automatically using a shield. You do have a shield option to turn on as well, but it only lasts for one hit, and those hits will come quickly, so it doesn’t hurt to have at least a little help.
As good as the Switch motion controls are, I found myself wanting to play with the control stick instead. While the novelty of the “tilt-a-maze” gameplay was fun, it was just too much on some of the later, more challenging levels. Thankfully, after extensive playtime, I came to realize that the “demo” of the controller tilting on the screen was the control toggle! *smacks face* Still, even after realizing that you can change the controls so that you use the stick instead of motion controls, it still wasn’t much easier, as the resting analog was set to automatically center your marble, so you are now having to very carefully hold your controller in place as to not slam into a wall, or fall off the edge of the level, or crash into any number of interfering characters, depending on the theme of the level.
The different level themes are definitely a strong point in Rolling Sky! You have some plain environments in a few levels, but you also get plenty of crazy things like a Christmas theme, or a twisted carnival, or a Reggae theme complete with dancing Rastafarians! Each level has an accompanying music track that fits near-perfectly with the action on the stage, and the levels themselves feel pretty sweet when you start to get good enough to actually make it through them!
Speaking of music, this game has a great soundtrack! The only real problem here is, that every time you die, you interrupt the song, so you find yourself wanting to get better just to hear the complete track! Thankfully, you can listen to the music directly on the stage select screen, so if you just want to chill out and listen to the sweet tunes without pulling your hair out in frustration by trying to finish some of the more difficult levels, then you can do that!
In the handheld Switch mode, you can also play the game using touch controls, which feels more like the way the game was meant to be played. This makes sense seeing that Rolling Sky started off as a mobile game. You know those mobile games that are free, but super difficult, and then you can either pay to advance, or watch an ad? At least with the Switch version there are no ads, thank goodness! However, unlike the mobile version of Rolling Sky, the touch controls are at a different aspect ratio than the “just move your finger to where you want to be.” On the Switch, if you want to go to the far right lane, then you do not simply drag your finger to that lane, but rather way further across the game pad to make the full distance! That made things even more difficult in trying to control the game, even though it felt like the way to go. Still, no matter what control mode you choose to play in, the game is still super tough!
The most fun you will have with Rolling Sky is after you adjust to the controls, and you see yourself getting better and better each time. It’s definitely not the type of game for everybody, but those who enjoy a challenge, and looking like a badass for putting a complete beatdown on a level after repeated play-throughs, will enjoy Rolling Sky. Not sure if this is you? I suggest checking out the free mobile version, and then determine if getting rid of the ads is worth the price of admission on the Switch. If you do go for the Switch version, then make sure you have a steady hand, though, because the controls are a lot less forgiving this time around! Still, I’ll be coming back to the game every Halloween and Christmas and World Cup! Because I am a sucker for themed levels, and despite the challenging controls, I still enjoyed the game!
Now I just need a snappy headline that reflects the spherical nature of your character as well as the difficulty of the game. Hm… “Challenging as Spheres?” “Difficult as Globes?” I’m sure I’ll think of something.
Rolling Sky is published by Rising Win Tech and is available now for $10.99 via the Nintendo Switch eShop.
*Disclosure: a copy of Rolling Sky was provided to The Splintering by Rising Win Tech for the purpose of this post.