Game: Super Sami Roll
Genre: Platformer, Action
Developer|Publisher: Sonzai Games | X Plus Company Limited
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £11.39 | US $9.89 | EU € 8,24
Release Date: July 21st, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Novy Unlimited Inc
Super Sami Roll is a 3D adventure game that feels like what if 3D Sonic and Super Monkey Ball got together and made a game. The main protagonist is a cute little dinosaur called Sami. Sami is on a quest to save his buddy Vera from the evil monkey Albert VII. This is a game that appears to have been silently released to PC. With a colourful art style and interesting gameplay it does initially appear to be a winning formula. However, while there are some good aspects, this game might not click with everyone.
You enter 3D levels with the goal simply being to find your way to the end where an Owl is waiting to take you to the next level. You have a set time limit so you need to do your best navigating as quickly as you can to the goal. While navigating the platforms you can also collect coins which extend your time and also be used to spend in the shop later. There is also a hidden berry which usually requires a little more risk to obtain.
But if you take on the extra challenge you can unlock more cosmetics in the shop. If you fall off the level or run out of time you have to restart form the beginning. If you hit an enemy or game hazard you don’t lose any health or fail, you just temporarily get stunned in the air while the dinosaur holds its sore bum.
Roll and Jump
Generally the flow is you roll and jump your way through the levels but you also have a few additional moves to help you in your race to the end, like, using your tongue to latch onto walls as well as a wall jump and bounce ability. It’s a simple design that does deliver a positive first impression but once I reached the second world things started to get pretty difficult and frustrating which I’ll discuss in more detail below.
The level designs vary slightly as you make your way through, with most focusing on platforming but there is usually a couple per world you need to speed through under strict time limits. There is also a boss fight at the end to conquer, which often requires you to avoid hazards and projectiles for a period before jumping on them at the right moment. For some reason each time you finish a level you still return to the overworld map akin to Super Mario Bros 3 to select the next level. It would have made much more sense just to head straight to the next level. Especially since this game moves at quite the fast pace.
Features a Cute Dinosaur
The graphics are lovely and colourful. Sami the dinosaur is a charming and cute protagonist that navigates some beautifully created environments set across various themes. There’s also a pretty decent soundtrack that feels almost arcade-like in nature. There is this sort of Sonic feel to the opening presentation of the levels which are individually named. As you progress through the game you can also exchange your collected coins and berries for colours and cosmetics for your characters. So of course I created a red dinosaur with a mustache… just because.
You can also exchange coins for secrets, in-game cheats and even a multiplayer game mode. The later I only tested in single player but this seemed like a pretty fun experience to share with up to four players. In this mode, you play as a marble trying to roll to the goal before the other players. If you play alone you play with bots. It’s a very simple idea and I kinda preferred it to the main game in some respects.
Steady Hand Required
Controls for a game like this are essential since you need to navigate across difficult platforms under a strict time limit. While they do work, for the most part I found they didn’t work for me. The early game starts out nice and simple, roll and jump to the goal with little reason to be frustrated. But as you progress the game introduced more moves like the ability to bounce on the floor and use your tongue to latch on to other platforms. It took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out how to use your tongue and jump before latching onto the wall and jump over spikey hazards. It was also very hard to time when to jump off poles you latched on to with your tongue.
I didn’t feel the game did its best breaking you into these new mechanics. Instead quickly ramping up the difficulty of the game and expecting the player to just adapt. This is not helped by the fact the normal difficulty only has one checkpoint per level. This is a game I walked away from constantly because I fell off the level or ran out of time over and over. It wasn’t great for the stress levels.
That’s not to say other gamers won’t click with it but if you’re looking for a casual experience this cute cuddly game is not there in its current state. I loved the Super Monkey Ball games which seemed to balance bitesize levels with time restrictions, but I just couldn’t click with Super Sami Roll.
Conclusion – Dino-mite
Super Sami Roll has all the right ingredients for a winning product. For gamers with the time and patience to adapt to the control scheme will probably discover a challenging and rewarding experience. But for the more casual fans or those looking to blow off steam after a hard day at work, the frustration might just be too much to see it through. I like what Super Sami Roll is trying to achieve. I loved the graphics and general design of the game. It just didn’t really click with me in its current state.
Final Verdict: I Like it