Fans of Sonic The Hedgehog might take an interest in Polyroll — a charismatic love letter to the spikey blue mammal’s early Sega adventures. This time, however, players control a no-nonsense roly-poly — you know, the little multi-legged insects you, as an innocent and pure young child, relentlessly bullied into curling up in a tight ball. The anthropomorphism on display with this little pill bug is apparent, though, as he merely possesses four appendages: two legs and two arms. The evil mastermind Kaiser Kiwi has stolen this hero’s friends, and it is now up to the humanoid roly-poly to get them back!
Polyroll takes players on a classic 2D Sonic ride as the little bug balls up and zips from point A to B, utilizing speed boosts, bumpers for bouncing, and a myriad of pick-ups. Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that Sonic was the inspiration here. The first level feels ridiculously reminiscent of the iconic Green Hill Zone from the classic Sega series. However, Sonic‘s inspiration acts as a springboard of sorts, as the developer incorporates a few new ideas into the gameplay in an attempt to make Polyroll unique. Does it succeed? Partially.
A bug’s life
Polyroll‘s traversal and platforming elements are undoubtedly Sonic-esque by design. Thankfully, there’s no complaint here. The controls are responsive and intuitive enough to make the platforming aspects of the game feel natural. Offensive and defensive actions, however, have expanded. For instance, players can pick up an item that essentially creates three bombs circling the valiant little bug. With the press of a button, these bombs can drop as our hero soars over enemies. Various other pick-ups offer defensive mechanics as well, such as shields.
When it comes to player health, Polyroll gives players the old three-strikes-and-you’re-out system. But if you do take a hit, you can recoup that lost “strike” by collecting diamonds all over the world. After completing a few levels, a boss fight marks the end of that world. Just like the gameplay, there’s nothing overtly different about taking down these bosses. Basically, if you were playing Sonic, take the same actions you would take as Sonic to bring down the big bads.
That’ll do, pi- er, bug
Polyroll is a simple adventure that accurately reflects the price you pay for the game. To the title’s credit, all things are in good, working order, and I have no complaints about the controls or the game’s performance. Polyroll is, by and large, a spiritual sibling to the side-scrolling Sonic games we already know and love. If you’re looking for a Sonic experience, Polyroll will handily deliver that in a small, simple, and cost-effective package. Otherwise, this one doesn’t do much to stand out in a heavily saturated genre.
A review code was provided by the publisher.