Price: $0.99    Score: 7/10     Category: Games

Chillingo has returned to their cutesy casual gamer roots with Roll in the Hole, a simple puzzler with a story to boot.

The evil gorilla Uggi has stolen ice creams from our rotund protagonist panda PoPo, and all he cares about is getting them back. To do so, PoPo has to roll his way through magical worlds in hot pursuit of his enemy and his ice cream.

Roll in the Hole is strikingly similar to iBlast Moki 2, with two key differences. For starters, iBlast Moki 2 has more of a cult following, while Roll in the Hole is clearly targeted at the casual gamer. Also, the players in each game are controlled very differently.

While iBlast Moki sends its protagonist into the hole with strategically placed bombs, all it takes to control PoPo the panda is a tap on one side of the screen or the other.

Tap the left side of the screen and PoPo starts to roll right (making for opposite controls), but the real trick is in finessing the rotund panda from one side of the choppy terrain to the other without letting him roll off the land into the great depths of nothingness.

Should your panda fall into oblivion, he’s back at the same mini-level again a couple seconds later. In other words, there’s no finite number of lives. Instead Roll in the Hole’s level structures play a lot like Chillingo’s ever-famous, Cut the Rope. Players earn 0 – 3 ice creams based on PoPo’s ability to reunite with his stolen food in each level. As of now there are currently 72 levels, but there are signs of more to come.

Each level is a little bit different and the graphics are cute as can be, but eventually even the introduction of bouncy balloons, killer spikes, and other variations aren’t enough to make Roll in the Hole feel all that new or refreshing. I’d be more likely to give this this game to the kids than download it for myself.

Bottom Line: Roll in the Hole has major cute appeal and a solid foundation, but ultimately the puzzler doesn’t offer enough compelling variety to hold gamers at attention.