Thank you IRF Media for sending us the APK for this game!
Ginger Roll was initially released before Christmas for free but it is now 99 cents. Games with in-app purchases have been around for some time, but for the most part they are somewhat playable before being prompted to spend money on them. While I applaud IRF Media being charitable with their profits, I don’t like their approach for earning them.
In order to play the sixty beautiful levels (I’ll have to take their word for it since I didn’t pony up the cash), you have to buy lives. The cheapest life package is $5 for thirty lives and the most expensive plan is $112 for one-thousand lives and two-hundred thousand cookies. Cookies in this game are used to unlock various characters like Santa and different outfits for the main character, Saif.
The game doesn’t reveal much of a story but according to the website Saif has been trapped into a Zorb ball by the evil child genius, Iblis. In order to stop Iblis from world domination, Saif must complete the various challenges set before him.
The game’s menu isn’t very clear either. Most of the menu options are icon based with no text explaining what they are or do. Granted, many of them are easy to figure out like the Facebook, Twitter, and store icons. However, there are two game modes and I can only play one of them. Upon clicking the word Start (the only text in the main menu), there are two play buttons. The play button on the left requires you to spend money to buy lives to play on those levels and the play button on the right looks to be inside of a stop watch, so perhaps those are timed challenges? I was able to play the stop watch mode.
The colorful levels seem to be randomly selected and the gameplay is very similar to Super Monkey Ball. You have to tilt your device to get the ball rolling in the direction you want. You can collect cookies, coins, and other power-ups if you roll into them. There are things to avoid including pitfalls and various objects that will slow you down.
No matter how long I took to complete the level or died trying I always got the same score each time (110). Where is the incentive to do better if the score is the same each time? Even though hearts/lives can be earned in the timed mode, they don’t carry over and are not usable for the story campaign.
As if paying for a game that is only half playable is not bad enough, the parts that can be played are buggy and leaves much to be desired. One time my character got stuck in between two objects and I was unable to break him free. I pulled up the game menu and clicked on the retry option (the mini game menu has text BTW). The level reloaded and got stuck at an aerial view and that same glitch happened several times until I rebooted my device.
The graphics are cute but it’s pretty easy to notice that the character is not actually inside of a sphere but a shadowed circle is just hovering over him. When a level is completed the character’s limbs sometimes extend past the shaded circle.
The sound is much better though. My kids laughed at the Looney Toons like “yeehhhoowwwowww” when the character rolled off of the track. The background music is peppy and cute and managed to get stuck in my head.
While Ginger Roll is both cute and safe for kids to play, I strongly discourage granting children access to this title unless you have in-app purchases locked down on your device. In fact, it’s probably best to steer clear of it altogether and stick with the classic Super Monkey Ball games that don’t charge you per life.
*January 28, 2016 update - the developer has enabled the first five levels to be played, but the rest of the issues still remain