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Kula World is a 3D platform-based puzzle game created 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, then leave the level before time expires. Additional points are awarded by collecting coins and jewels along the way.
Kula World is one of only a few commercial games to have been released in the PAL Region before being released in USA and Japan. The game first appeared in stores in July 10, 1998, and made it's way to USA on November 20, 1998 under the name "Roll Away". The game was also released to Japan on May 27, 1999 under the name "Kula Quest".
The main objective of the game is to collect keys which unlock the level exits, then leave the level before time expires. 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 they progress through the game. 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). When one collects the fifth fruit, the word "BONUS" toggles on-screen, and the player will go to a Bonus level when the level is completed, rather than to the next level. Completing the bonus stage requires one to 'activate' all the cubes on all platforms by rolling over them. Players are only given one try to do this, after which they return to the main game on the next level in the sequence. The bonus stages also becomes 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 2-player mode of Kula World is available, with two variations of the game - A time trial and a version called "copycat". In the Time Trial version, 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.
Kula World was also extremely popular when released, which made acquiring it quite difficult. The combination of these two factors has meant that even today, it is extremely difficult to acquire an ordinary copy of the game for less than £60.
Sony were not blind to Kula World's popularity, and on November 29, 2007, the company released Kula World for download to Playstation 3 via Playstation Store, priced at £3.49. There is also an announcement that it may be released as a download at Ancient Arcade on 2008-03-12.