Treasure, swinging robots and old-school arcade visuals. Ropor is one-switch gaming at its very best.
As one of the entries for the Retro Remakes 2008 Competition, Ropor has already had a fair bit of coverage - it's been publicly available since before the competition entries were officially unleashed onto all of the interwebs. Still, for such a cracking game, too much hype can't possibly be a bad thing. This robot-swinging feast of retro comes courtesy of Tom Beaumont, his debut release as far as I'm aware, and if this is a good indication of his standard of work then I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
So, let's zerg forth with a review and see what exactly makes it worth playing!
The objective sounds simple. Doesn't it always, though? Swing your robot around the various rope points on each level to collect pieces of fruit, then leave through the warp gate which appears. If you've ever played Gravity Hook or even Worms, the way you move your character will probably be familiar to you. But now for the catch: the swing points and fruits are usually some inconvenient distance apart, so just hanging around will get you nowhere. To progress you'll have to use the inertia of your swings to throw yourself in the right direction and hope you got the trajectory right - either to pick the fruit up or latch on to another swing point. If not, well, life literally goes downhill. Quickly.
Plenty of other things can go wrong - hitting a laser wall or falling out of the bottom of the play area will both cause you to lose a life, and on later levels some of the swing points will only let your robotic hero latch on to them for a matter of seconds before disappearing, leaving you with a sudden sinking feeling as gravity does its worst. You'll also lose your rope if you take too long to complete a level. If you're up to it, playing on the Arcade or Expert difficulty levels will mean you have to pull off some quite fiendish slignshots to get very far.
Fortunately, because Ropor was entered into the "A Game for Helen" category of the competition, there's a wide selection of options to make it playable for folks of any skill level. The controls are 'one switch', meaning you need only use one key or button to play, so that's a doddle. There's a different selection of levels for each difficulty level, too, and it's even possible to reduce the speed of the game if you find it too fast, or to show helpful information about what trajectory you will take after letting go of a swing point.
My only constructive criticism is a lack of music and sparse sound effects, but in the scale of things that's hardly a big deal. Otherwise Ropor is, for a deliberately retro game, pretty much perfect - right down to the adjustable glow and scanline effects on the graphics. If you rigged it up inside an arcade cabinet you'd be hard pressed to tell this was a game from 2008.
I'd be very surprised if this entry didn't win any prizes. At the very least it should be one of the judges' picks. It's my favourite out of all the compo entries I've tried so far, and as such I highly recommend you give it a go, too!