This Review Is Written By Laura Mitchell
Have you ever wanted to build ladders and murder cute creatures with fire and explosive weaponry? Then ‘Rodland’ is the game for you!
The game is centred around two elfin-type girls, Tam and Rit, who undertake a treacherous mission through a land of super-kawaii type creatures to rescue their mother who has been kidnapped by Maboot, an evil Bull-like creature who obviously was sore at not getting the gig on ‘Bullseye’. In order to rescue their mother from Maboots Tower where the unknown assailant is keeping her hostage, the player has to clear forty single screen platform levels of the teeth-rottingly cute critters which stalk them.
Never fear, the girls are packing heat. They each have a magic wand (the ‘Rods of Sheesanomo’) that can be used to smash the creatures repeatedly into the floor, which turns their foes (somehow) into weapons. These weapons can be fired at other enemies, turning them into blocks of fruit (presumably the more realistic result of covering the screen with animal intestines would have ruined the overall stylistic effect the game was going for). If you hit an enemy but don’t kill it, like the old adage it will become stronger. Or faster, at least.
You can also collect every flower on screen to turn the critters into red bulbous figures which, when dispatched, release an orb containing one of five letters. If you collect enough to spell out ‘BONUS’ you get an extra life, presented to you by a sexy fairy-type lady clearly present as some sort of parental bonus. Beware- if you leave it too long to kill the creatures inhabiting each stage, they become ‘blue meanies’ which are more difficult to destroy; don’t fret, they’re still ridiculously cute. Everything in this game is ridiculously cute. Except perhaps that sexy fairy…
Although the girls are armed to the teeth with magical powers of super-kawaii ass-kickery, they will die if a super-cute critter so much as touches them, or if they get in the way of an enemy projectile such as shark tears (remember than when you’re next at the Sealife centre). Every ten levels sees you pit against a boss character; usually an enormous saccharine animal with huge eyes that fires tiny versions of itself at you. Having played this game several times since the age of ten, I still have no idea how this is supposed to work from a biological point of view but who cares? You tickle them with flaming hot rods until they die and it’s still cute.
The characters can’t jump; instead they can create a ladder that allows them to evade enemies either by climbing to another platform or walking off the top of a ladder and dropping down to a nearby platform. As only one character-created ladder can be present at any one time on screen, creating another ladder will make the former one vanish. This can be used tactically to make an enemy using your own ladder fall back onto the platform below, which it does so in a cute manner. Think of the cutest puppies, then multiply that by some adorable kittens and take away seven, and you have an idea of just how cute this game is.
Adapted from a coin-op arcade game, the developers have taken great pains to improve on the original gameplay; giving the enemy characters artificial intelligence that makes them a greater threat as you progress through the levels, as well as removing cheap tactics such as being able to kill the creatures in mid-air. You can play either as single player mode where you choose one of the girls to play as (presumably by whether you prefer pink or blue, as that’s about the only difference between them), or you can play two player co-op where you both work together to clear the screen of enemies, yet fight to acquire the precious bonus orbs and fruit cubes. And no, you can’t attack each other with the Rods of Sheesanomo. That wouldn’t be very cute, would it?
Whether the super-cute graphics are your thing or not, this is a fun game to while away a few hours on. By about level 30 it starts to feel rather repetitive, but there are notable attempts to liven up the gameplay, such as by having the Spud creatures spawn so that if you’re not careful, you can have dozens of them onscreen. Oh, and you may end up wanting to mute the music- the relentless chirpiness may threaten to pierce your eardrums. Nevertheless, this is a decent game worthy of at least half an hour of your time. Especially if you like cuteness.
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