Author: Mike Dunn
Publisher: Mastertronic
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #50


A platform world of squares and grids is the environment for a rolling ball. And the ball must move and jump from square to square, collecting the right number of crosses that he finds upon his trundling travels through Rollaround's 20 levels.

The platforms do not consist entirely of identical squares: some are plain or contain collectible crosses, others alter all squares upon a level or just some. Clock squares slow down speedy aliens, and mystery squares either hide a packet of points or lead to death; unmarked exit squares when touched reveal the paths that lead to other platforms.

But things are not going to be all that easy for the ball - some platforms are patrolled by aliens. These entities can make life for a travelling sphere such a misery, as they turn otherwise solid squares into holes or push a poor ball from a platform. Others can leap over holes or mirror movements of our ball, whilst bombs can direct themselves to the squares upon which our friendly orb sits.


A jump button allows the ball to skip between platforms, avoiding these annoying creatures and collecting squares as it goes. For every one of the squares touched, points are awarded, but for fall from a platform or through a hate means that one of ball's eight lives is plucked away.

The number of types of square that need to be gathered before progress can be made to the next level is shown at the top of the screen. There is also a time countdown within which the level must be completed. When a level has been completed, there is a chance to use good timing to win a bonus score or an extra life from a random display.


Joysticks: Kempston
Graphics: isometric view of monochrome surfaces - very simple
Sound: simple sound effects

Mike ... 52%

Rollaround is quite dull. Admittedly, the scattered cult following of the excellent Bobby Bearing may enjoy this mediocre reflection. But the graphics are small and lacking colour, and addictivity is very limited.

Gordon ... 70%

Rollaround is very reminiscent of Electric Dreams's Spindizzy: It has precarious 3-D landscapes and narrow tracks, items to collect, puzzles to solve and switches to throw. But it differs slightly in its overall design. It's more compact and not as well presented, and it doesn't contain the vast panorama of varied landscapes. But Rollaround is very playable (dropping an alien through a hole by throwing a switch is satisfying), and the puzzle factor makes it very addictive. The title screen mirrors the game's beautiful simplicity: rolling a marble madly in search of crosses to collect doesn't create frantic action, but requires a good deal of thought and a sense of precise timing (some mapping might come in handy, too). The difficulty has been graded just right: the first level is extremely easy, but later ones are more demanding of precise timing and mental agility. The only real disappointment is the graphics: they're a bit basic, and some of the aliens are very poor. But despite these faults, if you want more of the Marble Madness format, Rollaround could be what you're looking for.

Mike DunnGordon Houghton

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