App Reviewed on: iPad
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Rocket Patrol is a free to play card game by GRL Games in which players face off in a race across the galaxy. The game's simple rules make it very accessible, but at the same time makes for a game that wears a bit thin on gameplay. To top it all off, Rocket Patrol includes some in app purchase options that can give an unfair advantage to anyone willing to pay for it.
The concept of the game is simple enough: Each player controls a rocket ship that is racing across the galaxy, and whoever travels 350 lightyears first is declared the winner. In each players' hand, they will have a random assortment of lightyear cards, red cards, green cards, and blue cards. The lightyear cards allow players to move their ship forward while red cards sabotage your opponent, green cards repair any damage due to sabotage, and blue cards determine when players can play the coveted 100 lightyear cards.
To make things a little bit trickier, Rocket Patrol limits the number of lightyear cards that can be played. For example, players can only play up to two 100 lightyear cards. When players run out of cards to play, they must exchange a card in their hand for a new one, or opt to spend stars to discard their entire hand a draw a new one. This makes the core game of Rocket Patrol about judiciously maintaining a balanced hand so as to avoid spending turns discarding cards.
While this sounds all well and good, the aforementioned stars that allow players to exchange entire hands in games of Rocket Patrol are available for in app purchase. Although using stars to get an entirely new hand doesn't guarantee receiving better cards, it does increase the odds of players receiving the cards they want over players that are exchanging cards one at a time. The result of this is that it is easy for players that want to play for free to get matched up against other players that are--in effect--paying for an advantage.
Of course, players can also choose who they wish to play against via their game center friends list, but the implementation of game center in this game is unfortunately a bit unwieldy, making the process of checking on games in progress quite a pain.
Overall, Rocket Patrol is a pretty neat game, but the implementation of in app purchases and wonky game center interface issues prevent it from being as enjoyable as it could be.