It's summertime, which means one thing: holiday. Whether you take an exotic trip to the Tahitian isle or a weekend jaunt close to home, the destination isn't nearly as critical as your frame of mind. A tropical getaway could end up being a nightmare with delayed flights or an overbooked itinerary compared to a getaway near home spent chilling out.
How you spend your time is just as important as the sights you see and the company you keep. Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid travels to an exciting locale with fun new friends, but it's the way in which the game has been refined that makes it worth spending your time with this adorable sequel.
The Quest for the Golden Orchid commences not out of some thrill-seeking whim, but out of the dire need to cure the royal sages of a deadly disease.
Ravaged by the Kilgorean flu, the Rolando clan has no other option but to travel to the tropics in search of the fabled golden orchid. Rolling from the beaches through the jungle and forbidden temple to reach the island mountaintop where the gilded flower grows is the only way to rid the sages of the plague.
Tilts, taps, slides, and swipes enable you to guide Rolandos through 45 challenging levels. The basic controls remain intact from the first game: tapping a Rolando selects it, upon which tilting your handset rolls it left or right. You can direct multiple Rolandos by sliding a finger across the screen to create a selection box. A quick upward swipe yields a jump when you have Rolandos selected.
Your finger also activates a number of cool contraptions that get Rolandos past sticky spots. Finger-controlled lifts and springboards return, as well as explosive fruit capable of blasting through crumbling walls with a tap. All of these devices have been tuned to function better. Lifts work with less difficulty and springs bounce Rolandos with greater accuracy.
Improvements are to be expected in a sequel, yet its the new stuff that makes Rolando 2 worthwhile. Unique to the Island of Fontanis where the Rolandos trek are watery puzzles, pepper-eating friends, mine carts, and spiked wheels. None of these additions fundamentally changes the nature of the game, but they open a new range of gameplay possibilities.
Water makes a splash, for instance, in the way it defines a meaningful difference between diminutive and domineering Rolandos. Big ones sink in water and small ones float. This allows you to toggle switches underwater in clever new puzzles, while you send little Rolandos on errands at the surface.
New pepper-eating Rolandos bloat up with gas to the point that they float up from the ground under your control. Even the vehicles, which are a relatively minor addition, get things moving in a new way that ensures Rolando 2 evolves beyond the first game.
What actually makes this sequel an improvement is not so much the new stuff. The way in which levels have been structured supports greater accessibility and depth. Each stage comes with three goals - saving all Rolandos, collecting every crystal, and finishing under the clock - that can be completed individually or all at once. This provides more flexibility than the original, which in turn makes Rolando 2 more enjoyable.
Other differences have an impact, such as golden idols that allow you to skip levels that you find too hard or don't particularly like. Difficult levels featuring royal Rolandos that cannot be directly controlled have been limited to a scant few.
It's these changes that give rise to a successful sequel. Rolando 2 didn't have to roll to a distant paradise to rock. The destination is great, but it's how this well-designed, accessible holiday is spent that makes it a total blast.