|Developer(s)||Game Design Sweden AB|
JP 10 February 2009 (PSN)
Kula World (Roll Away North America and Kula Quest in Japan) is a 3D platform puzzle video game developed by Game Design Sweden AB for the Sony PlayStation, which places the player in control of a Kula beach ball. The main objective of the game is to collect keys which unlock the level exits, as well as coins and jewels along the way. The game makes use of alternative physics, changing the direction of gravity as the ball moves.
Various elements and obstacles are introduced as one moves on to new levels, which means that the complexity and level of puzzle solving required gradually increases as the game progresses. The game involves making ingenious use of the various types of platforms and surrounding objects, from moving platforms and transporters to bouncing platforms and jumping pills.
Bonus levels can be unlocked by gathering five fruits (one available in each stage). If one enters a bonus level, the word "BONUS" appears. Completing the bonus stage requires one to 'activate' all the cubes on all platforms by rolling over them. The bonus stages also become more complex as the game progresses.
Points are awarded when the player collects keys, treasures, and fruits and also when they complete levels. Points are deducted if the Kula ball is spiked, captured, melt, burnt by laser, or falls/slides off or simply runs out of time, all of which require the player to restart the level - providing the score has not fallen below zero, in which case, the game ends.
A two-player mode is available, with two variations of the game. A time trial and a version called "copycat". In the time trial the players take turns to determine who can complete each stage in the quickest time possible. The "copycat" version is a kind of memory tester. It involves one player starting off making two moves, and the next player then copies those moves and adds two of their own. The first player then has to copy all of the moves so far and add two more moves at the end. This continues until one of the player makes a mistake, after which the opponent is awarded a point. A move constitutes either changing direction, moving forward or jumping (either on the spot/forwards or onto another platform).
This was one of the first games to make use of the DualShock vibration function of the original PlayStation game controllers, which induces the feel of the ground breaking, the feeling of the Kula ball about to burst, or the shock of getting suddenly captured or spiked. The game also featured an original, easy listening style soundtrack composed entirely by long-running Swedish electronica group Twice a Man.
Kula World was also extremely popular when released, which made acquiring it quite difficult. Ordinary copies can cost over £60 due to its rarity. Sony announced Kula World for download to PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Store priced at £3.49, which was released on 29 November 2007.