By: John C. Mayberry
As advanced as video games have become with respect to gameplay and graphics, it’s refreshing to see that the simplistic, addicting puzzle games are still widely loved and appreciated. It’s easy to see why, as some of these seem to emulate the games of old while combining it with new gameplay elements and a change of rules to provide a brand new, yet nostalgic factor that cannot be overlooked. Add a bit of cartoony and childish humor to it, and you have yourself a game you will be playing for indefinite stretches of time. Maybe to the point of getting angry work texts of worried phone calls from concerned family and friends, but I digress.
All of the above, of course, is the best way I could describe Roundguard, a PlayStation 4 release available for download that takes the pinball concept and upgrades it in an excellent way. The Roundguard consists of a warrior, a rogue, and a wizard attempting to rescue the king of Springbottom along with his royal fortune. In this quest you choose one of the three playable characters, who also happen to be round-shaped (they honestly look like little beans haha) that are launched from the top of the screen at enemies and pots of gold, bouncing around all over the place as you continue your quest. Including a bit of an RPG element in that your chosen character does level up in stats and dungeons that generate at random, Roundguard has plenty of great qualities for younger and older audiences alike.
This charmingly silly game, in its cartoonish style, addicting gameplay (come on guys, you know you can’t stay away from a pinball machine or any game similar to one) and continuously changing dungeons that provide a unique challenge to players every time a new game is started, is one that everyone should try Now go forth my minions, arm thy selves, take back the kingdom. Just wear a helmet. It might hurt hitting your head on all those enemies and pots of gold. Now, onward to castle Springbottom!
Artistic style – The look of the game is designed in a cartoonish and comedic fashion. Everyone from the players and the enemies look silly in the best way possible, adding more of the comedic effect to the game.
Animation – The effects of the game are spot on, consistent with the game’s look, and are very sharp and clear. The cartoonish effects especially are very well done.
Audio/Visual quality – The visuals are some of the most clear, clean, and sharp I’ve ever seen, adding to an already enjoyable experience. The sound effects and music are also very fitting to the overall silliness of the game.
Movement – Another thing that catches my eye in any game I play is the fluidity of movement. And with the near constant bouncing off of walls, pots of gold and enemies, the smoothness of movement is definitely on par with, if not better, than some of the gaming industries’ best-known titles.
Gameplay – Roundguard’s gameplay is very much like pinball, which is a very addictive game on its own. With several additions onto this concept along with some slight changes (think of a pinball game where the ball is launched from the top), the game is addictive, and accessible to all age groups.
Randomly generated dungeons – You’ll never play the same type of dungeon twice. Every time you begin a game, a dungeon is put together at random to provide a unique but still challenging experience, giving the player plenty of opportunities to test their skill in different ways.
Multiple gameplay modes – Several different gameplay modes keep it interesting and offer more replay value to an already fun game. Included also are leaderboards so you can see how you stack up against other online players.
Limited choice of players – You can choose from one in three players. But so far there seem to be no plans on adding any more via add-on content. For the kind of RPG element that was trying to be introduced, a wider variety of players would have been preferable.
It can be repetitive – Although I’ve described Roundguard as being an addictively fun game, this quality can unfortunately be something that may turn players away. Chances are some gamers will eventually grow bored of following the same gameplay formula on every level to the point of losing interest.
OVERALL SCORE: 8 out of 10
With the right combination of a classic game with modern touches added to it, Roundguard is as silly as it is fun. Addicting in its simplicity with the charming hilarity of cartoons, this game will bring a smile to any child’s face. And yours too. Because you all know very well you play this game too when the kids have nap time!