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Lock 'n' Roll

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Rating: 4.6/5 (1405 votes)
Comments (30) | Views (14,643)

zxoLock-n-RollUntil recently, if you wanted to enjoy the addictive combo-making game Lock 'n' Roll, you needed to have an iPhone, or at least needed to convince your BFF to lend you theirs.

But not anymore! James Prucey (with the help of Sean Hawkes) has just released a Flash version of this iPhone classic for the whole Internet to enjoy! Loosely based on Poker Solitaire, the idea is to place colored dice into configurations that score the highest number of points possible. The key difference between Lock 'n' Roll and its various predecessors is that it has a subset of prime combos that not only score more points, but clear those dice from the board, freeing up space in which to continue making combos. Thus, you should learn these 4 combos well, as they will be a key part of earning a good score. These prime combos are:

  • All 4 dice the same color and number

  • All 4 dice the same color and all different numbers

  • All 4 dice different colors, but the same number

  • All 4 dice different colors and all 4 different numbers

Lock-n-Roll cleared combosIt's not crucial to memorize the other scoring combos, but you should at least be aware of them. Another aspect of the game that takes a little while to get used to is the sheer number of scoring groups — not only do rows and columns count as distinct groups, so do the diagonals, each 4 dice quad, and the four corners. It's therefore possible for a single die to score in as many as 7 different groups!

Your other best friend is the Joker. No, he's not some makeup-wearing misunderstood misfit. Far from it, in fact! He's best buds with all the dice around him, acting as a wild card to make the best possible combination for every scoring group he's in. The downside is that each Joker reduces by 25% the point value for each combination it appears in. Jokers are common early on — you get your first one at only 250 points — but become scarcer as your score increases. To use a joker you've earned, simply drag it from above the board onto one of the squares. It doesn't matter if there's a die already there, just go ahead and put the joker right on top of it.

Lock 'n' Roll shines despite its minimal presentation, but like other simple strategy games, the draw was never meant to be lush graphics or endearing characters. It belongs to a class of "neat little games" that are easy to learn and quick to play, yet offer tremendous mileage and plenty of strategic depth, joining such classics as SameGame and Zilch, as well as a number of card-based solitaire games.

However, mere words cannot fully convey all the marvels of Lock 'n' Roll, so please enjoy the following lyrical review, written by yours truly:

(To the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Our eyes have seen the glory of the rolling of the dice;
They are lacking fives and sixes, but besides that, they're quite nice;
When we place them on the board they are locked in, as with a vise;
We'll play 'til break of dawn!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Or, in modern lingo: boo-yah!
Lock 'n' Roll does something to ya!
Where has our free time gone?

We will place the dice in groups of four and try to make a set;
We can either make them all the same or try for a quartet;
When we do this both with colors and with numbers you can bet
Those dice will soon be gone!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Or, in modern lingo: boo-yah!
Lock 'n' Roll will try to screw ya!
Dadgum! Dagnab! Doggone!

When we reach two-hundred-fifty points, a joker will appear;
It will complement precisely all the threesomes it is near;
Drag it onto any die and it will steadfastly adhere;
Like dog poop on our lawn!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Or, in modern lingo: boo-yah!
Lock'n'Roll just might subdue ya!
Come on, you dice, respawn!

We are grateful to James Prucey for this marvel of a game;
With its mix of luck and strategy, it's never quite the same;
Though it used to need an iPhone, now we all can praise its name;
Oh Lock 'n' Roll, ROCK ON!

Play Lock 'n' Roll


Pro Tip: Print screen or copy the dice combinations to a separate window so that you know which combos do what. I found myself clicking back and forth between the game and the tutorial all to frequently to figure out if I was doing it right.

Otherwise, I loved this game and it consumed my evening last night. Cheers!


That song is sheer brilliance. Well done, good sir.


Leave it to me to accidentally post the wrong thing. Fixed nao.

Loved the song, loved the game.


The only combinations that really matter are the 4 that get cleared from the board.

Yes, you get points from others, but if you're actually trying to make combinations that don't get cleared from the board, you're likely to lose quickly.


This is an awesome game, and it kept me up much later than I wanted it to.

The massive number of dimensions you have to think in (since each dice can fit in a bunch of patterns) hurts my head. I can't wait to play it again!


Really cool game! It took me a while to remember what combinations work..

I did find a bug, though. sometimes, when we use the 'joker' not in another piece, you may end up with a die left, no place to put it and are not allowed to roll again. So you have to reset.


Diego - what exactly do you mean when you say: "when we use the 'joker' not in another piece"?

Do you mean that after using a joker, there is a clear spot to place the remaining die, but the game does not allow you to place it there?

You are only allowed to Roll again when all dice have been placed on the board.

EasyGoing July 28, 2009 3:04 PM

Nice game. But if you know your moves then it is very long. Not "boring" long but "I have important work to do" long. Just finished a game with 23,885. Let's see how long it will be first.

Here are some tips:

1. Only keep in mind the 4 combinations that are cleared. Forget the rest.
2. Know all the checked lines (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, box and corners)
3. Keep track of which dice you need to finish a combo. You want to have as many as possible. Also don't have situations that two potential combos are waiting for the same dice.
4. When it's not going so well and the next move will be the last then aim for the corner (most lines of combos). You want to put a joker in the corner on the last move and have 3 or more combos to clear the board.

Using this I had about 4 situations in the last game that I cleared almost the whole board and still had a joker. So when you get the hang of it it's hard to lose. Then finally you get unlucky and thats game over.

Overall 5/5 ... now back to work.


One feature that wasn't covered in the review is the game saves the state of your game across browser sessions, so you can come back to it later and pick up where you left off.

This is very important since, as EasyGoing indicates, a game can last a long time when you get good at it. :)

EasyGoing July 28, 2009 3:10 PM

Had the same situation as Diego.

Lets say you have 4 empty spaces. Now you roll. You place 3 dices and one joker but on an empty space. Roll to accept them. They all get locked (the joker also). You are left with no empty space and one left dice. Only way is to reset because a page refresh doesn't help.


Thanks, that's a little more clear. We'll get a fix out for that ASAP.


All known bugs and exploits should be fixed now in version 1.5.

EasyGoing July 29, 2009 3:07 AM

Good. Nice to see it all fixed :)

Now, if only I could stay away from this game
Or maybe just one more round.

Lock N Roller July 29, 2009 3:09 PM

Jay that song is awesome, singing it is the only thing that is keeping me from more lock n roll, I am practicing both at the same time, but the scores are down and my tune is off. Oh well, back to work:

Or, in modern lingo: boo-yah!


Good find. Sort of reminds me of that Ring Pass Not game. Scored 51,264...I did take a few breaks though.



So...it looks like I ran into a bug, and I'm pretty sure I was playing with the fixed version (I played my first game two weeks ago, but never closed the browser). Hopefully it was just a fluke that only I encountered.

I had been playing this particular game for a few hours, and had finally gotten the swing of choosing spaces and moving pretty quickly through the 'rolls' (my score was 24,246). I had two Jokers and a 2/3 full bar. The top three rows had a total of 4 spaces empty, and the bottom row was completely clear. In my Roll column, I had 1-4 of different colors, the first time I can remember having a complete "set" with the space to place them together for a clearing score. After scanning the rest of the board and finding no better configuration, I placed them along the empty bottom row and pressed "Roll."
The row did not clear and I received no points, but there was a flashing, color-cycling square in the third row, obscuring the die there. Also, the Roll column did not repopulate. I clicked Roll again, and the Roll column filled with dice, but again, the bottom row did not clear or score, and the flashing space was still there. I ended up trying to score using the jokers and played around with it until I could do no more. Eventually, the game reset to the beginning, and my score was 0. The flashing square was still there.

I wasn't until I closed and reopened the browser that the flashing square was gone. My high score showed as 24,246. I think that if I had closed and reopened my browser when the cursor first showed, I might have been able to save my game. I had forgotten (or hadn't read) that the game would store my place after I closed the browser, though. Oh well.


Am I missing something? Sometimes when the board is locked and I can't roll it says GAME OVER, but most the time it doesn't. Is there something I am missing?


Hi Vicky, I'm not sure I really understand what's happening to you.

It's Game Over if you completely fill the board.

You can't roll new dice until you clear the 'Roll' area on the left.

Does that help?

Vicky Holycross August 16, 2009 4:34 PM

Most of the time after all the spaces are filled and locked, it doesn't say game over. I didn't know if there was something else I could do to extend the game. Sometimes it does say game over.
The choices in this game are just to roll and you must place all the cubes rolled on the board. Right?

[Edit: That is basically correct. You need to place all the dice before you can roll any new ones. However, you can, if you wish, place less than all 4, click "Roll" to process your score, but no new dice are given. This is helpful if you're close to getting a joker and you really need one. -Jay]

Anonymous August 19, 2009 3:41 AM

You probably still have 'JOKERS' left unused and therefore your game is not OVER until you have used them.



Contrary to popular opinion, the corners are NOT the most valuable spots.

The eight non-corner edge spots have 4 potential combos.

The four corner spots have 5 potential combos.

The four middle spots have 7 potential combos.

So, the middle spots are the most valuable. Drop a wild in one of those and you can get up to 7 different combos.


Nice game, but there's something wrong with the score - maybe the polish guys are clever enough to earn some hundred milions points, maybe they are even better ... :)


Sometimes have the same problem as 'notled' describe above: the flickering die. Can't explain it better than he did.
It's an irritating bug, cause with me it only comes up when i played a game for a long time and have at least 20,000 points (came up once when having 50,000+, grumbl)

Oh, yeah, here is another bug/hack

fill the board around, make sure u don't score points, but leave the four places in the center open. Then with the last four dices fill the center, then do the following as quickly as possible:
click roll
click info
click reset
click yes
and voila, u start the game with two jokers and 10,000+ points


K, seems that the bug/hack posted above doesn't work in the last version anymore.. pity :P , nah, actually, good riddance.
Wonder if the bug as described by notled is still in there.
(didn't play the game in a while cause of it, will post back if encountered again)

Very addictive game this is :)


Yup, bug is still in there, got almost 32,000 points and there one field starting flashing and field didn't get cleaned anymore although i had one correct combination.
K, gonna wait for another month then and check if this is solved.

Anonymous December 8, 2009 8:47 PM

I'm totally addicted to this game! I've got it on my iPod touch, and I've wasted countless hours on it.

By the way, love the song. Sheer brilliance. I've already sung it a few times in-between gaming sessions... :'D

YoursTrulyJIG March 14, 2010 1:53 PM

Great game, gotten a fairly high score (still only around 20,000).
Now, someone just has to make a flash version of Lock 'N Roll 2!


Flashing square bug still present, got me at 21k points :(



I'd love this app on my iPod. But now, i can't play with this app. The dice stay
frozen in the air. Few seconds before the game continues. Please, fix the bug. It's very very frustrating!!! It's been too long for a fix for it.
Thank you.

[It sounds like you have some corrupted data. Try uninstalling the game and then reinstalling it back again. If that doesn't work, try resetting of your iPod. -Jay]

Dirk Lodewijk August 17, 2011 10:56 AM

i can't subscribe my score anymore (lock 'n roll)

[What do you mean by subscribe your score? Have you tried updating your Flash Player? Also try emptying your browser cache and reload. -Jay]


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