First off, I’m giving this a positive review because I found the game to be quite enjoyable in the beginning then I couldn’t bring myself to continue playing the ice levels (3rd area). If Steam had a neutral rating then I would definitely have given it here, but I’ll give credit where it is due.
Story: You play as Sami, the blue dinosaur who can roll, who is currently hanging out with his cat friend named Vera at the beach. Our antagonist is introduced as a monkey named Albert VII who is an exotic collector. He notices that he’s lacking in exotic livestock so he takes it upon himself to kidnap Vera, so Sami has to track Albert VII to get his friend back.
Graphics: The game starts off with an amazing intro cutscene that is drawn and animated smoothly. Even the title screen is high quality which gives a great first impression. It’s amplified more by the pixelated cutscenes as well as the overworld reminding me of Super Mario World’s own overworld. I wish I could say the same for the 3D designs that you will see in the levels since they tend to look lower in quality, yet vibrant in color and design.
Sound: The music for the first region is energetic and poppy with a sweet splash of guitar while the second region is smoothed by the Arabic oud that’s always present in desert themes. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ is the music executed beautifully, but if there’s one thing that urks me is how there seems to be only one or two themes that you will listen to for most levels in a region. It gets old fast as you keep playing through the levels.
Gameplay: PLAY ON CONTROLLER, you will thank me as it’s easier than using Keyboard & Mouse.
The gist of the game is that you play as Sami who can roll and traverse as a spiky ball. Your movement is momentum-based so you can build up speed quickly, just think of it as similar to Super Monkey Ball. The other noticeable mechanic is Sami using his tongue to grapple onto platforms and objects in front of him which brings a neat dynamic to gameplay.
Each level will comprise of gold coins, a time limit, an owl, and a collectible raspberry that can be used to buy accessories to put on your dinosaur. Gold coins can be collected to extend your time limit as well as being able to purchase colors, hints, and power-ups in the overworld shops. The owl is usually located at the end of each level and is what you need to reach in order to finish the levels.
There will be enemies and hazards in the levels as well, but you can’t kill them and vice-versa. They can however “stun” you which means that you’ll be launched high into the air while not being able to do anything. This can waste your time in reaching the end of the level or even cause you to fall to your death at some points. By the way, you aren’t put in an invincible state after you get hit so you can potentially get stunlocked in succession.
Some Issues: So why couldn’t I be bothered to continue playing through the game if it sounds so good? Well there are quite a few issues I had with the game that dampened my enjoyment over time.
*Platforming: The game itself is a hybrid of 3D Sonic & Super Monkey Ball which is a fun and enjoyable combination. The issue is that sometimes it wants to be like Super Mario 64 when the game encourages you to “go as fast as possible” to keep momentum yet there are parts in the game that requires you to take your time or risk flying off into the void. It doesn’t help that Sami’s jumping prowess is subpar compared to his ability to build momentum and roll past enemies, so it feels clunky to do anything that requires jumping since you might fall flat into the abyss.
*Checkpoints: The game is courteous enough to provide at least one checkpoint for each level. The issue is that there needs to be more checkpoints as there are HUGE gaps between them that are covered with challenging platforming sections. If you mess up once, you just lost a lot of progress and sent back to your last checkpoint. This is infuriating when you consider how the platforming in Super Sami Roll is pretty clunky at times.
*Boss Levels: At the end of each region is a level called Tower of Chaos. It is a vertical tower that invokes a gauntlet of platforming challenges while lava rises to make you panic and die. The first offender is how the camera is locked for these levels which blows since the angles don’t give you much freedom in seeing what’s in front of you. The second offender is the lack of checkpoints, I believe that if you die before reaching the boss then you will have to repeat climbing up the tower with the rising lava and deal with the wonky platforming. Third offender is the PLATFORMING, I mentioned how Sami’s jumps were pretty bad and the boss levels are pretty much vertical only, so good luck in trying not to fly off and fall off at the same time while under basically two time limits.
Verdict: This game obviously was made with love and effort. It’s higher quality than most 3D Sonic games that SEGA bothered to chuck out for the past decade. It tries so hard to be like Sonic, Super Monkey Ball, and Super Mario 64 at the same time but it makes gameplay absolutely frustrating at times. I’d suggest getting this game for those who love momentum-based games, but watch out for the platforming. Don’t forget to use the controller too!
You can purchase Super Sami Roll by CLICKING HERE.