App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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In the world of The Last Rocket, intergalactic war has ceased to exist. That doesn't stop the occasional accident from happening, however. In this case, the accident in question is a ship's AI losing control along with some pieces of hardware (i.e. gears). Since the AI is somewhat, er, rooted, it creates one last rocket in a desperate gamble to reclaim the lost gears and save the ship before it crashes. Thus, "Flip" is born.
It's a little unorthodox, but The Last Rocket is very much a retro platformer. Just not quite in the "running along a 2D plane and jumping on a flagpole" sense. Instead, players guide Flip through 64 rooms filled with all manner of unpleasantness while trying to collect as many gears as they can. Since he's a self-propelled explosive and not a plumber, Flip's movement is mostly limited to flying straight up. Although various elements sprinkled throughout each room (such as fans and conveyor belts) can adjust his trajectory.
As players move through the ship's rooms, all manner of new elements will be introduced. Some include new obstacles, while others make use of Flip's previously unmentioned abilities. Abilities such as ducking under low-hanging spikes or side-stepping. Each subsequent area builds upon these new elements as they're introduced, constantly keeping players on their toes. As added incentive to keep players playing, there are multiple endings and a handful of special achievements for completing the game under various circumstances such as under a certain time limit or without blowing up. I'll be blunt: these are not easy feats.
It's hard to find much to complain about with The Last Rocket. I suppose if I had to nitpick, it would be that sometimes Flip's responses to reversing his direction feel a tad sluggish. Granted, the only time I've ever really had this problem is in narrow spaces, so it's probably more a product of my own timing.
I cannot stress just how impressed I am with this game. It seems to have come out of nowhere, but I personally feel it's destined to share a spot with the rest of the App Store's top platformers. In a way it almost surpasses them with it's perfect match of stylish retro visuals and quality chiptunes, it's tight controls and level design and it's myriad of hidden gears and challenges to promote several replays. It probably sounds cliché at this point, but that doesn't make it any less true: The Last Rocket deserves a spot in every iOS gamer's library.