A few months ago, I reviewed Nescape — a brand new NES game which was made in 2019! Who would have thought it. And now, I’m here to do it all again. This is Rollie, A classic style NES platformer, made by a single developer.
Taking control of the titular Rollie, or Lorrie in the two player mode, you run and jump your way through various locales. Feeling very much like Mario, it’s the extra abilities that really bring everything together in the game. Rollie feels like some kind of mashup of mechanics from other great games all sprinkled in — which is just great. Apart from the staple of jumping on enemies heads, you can create bubble to jump on, a la Bubble Bobble, roll into a ball to bounce higher, like Sonic and more. The roll even gives you the ability to move through small gaps and pressing the attack button in this situation gives you temporary invincibility, to handle the little critters in these tunnels. The most satisfying ability is throwing the marbles, which have a nice bounce and rebound to them. You can find yourself sometimes taking out enemies you didn’t even aim for, which is a bonus, but are also limited by the amount of marbles you have.
You will use those marbles, and a few other special abilities, to take on your forest foes; snakes, birds and other mammals, facing off against a harder, and sometimes larger, boss variant at the end of each of the sixteen levels. The birds are doubly helpful, as they enable you to fly for a short period of time. Sometimes, these are needed, as there would be no other way to make certain jumps. Luckily, the enemies will infinitely respawn if you exit the spawn area and return.
Another ability I enjoyed actually didn’t have a name (that I could find, so I will call it ‘Lovey Dovey mode’. It’s where you turn pink, and start spawning hearts from your body. This causes the enemies to get loved up and stop attacking you. Mind yourself though, as it will still hurt if you hit them. Levitation and invincibility are also available to find on your travels through this world.
The various weather systems were enjoyable within Rollie. Rain and wind that blows and changes direction can make certain platforming challenging, and add ice and snow into the mix — it can get downright evil, but never unfair. You are given plenty of time, so take your time, and you will be fine.
If all the above is not enough, the developer managed to squeeze all this into a measly 40KB, putting it easily into the top 5% of smallest nes games and making it smaller than Tetris. That’s quite a feat in itself.
Rollie is currently on Kickstarter where you can grab the game as a ROM file or on an actual cartridge, to play on your real NES (or one of their clones) if you have them.