App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
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After launching on Xbox Live Arcade in 2009 and making the long, slow burn over to the Windows Phone 7 platform in 2010, Codeglue’s twin-stick shooter Rocket Riot has finally landed on iOS, courtesy of Chillingo.
I could make an attempt to explain Rocket Riot’s “story’ to the reading audience out there, but by the time I finished relating this nonsensical tale of stolen legs, blocky pirates and butt-mounted jetpacks I would likely have been hauled off in a straightjacket, thus rendering me unable to finish the review proper. So let’s just say some crazy stuff happens that requires the player to hoist a bazooka, strap on one of those jet-butt devices and blow the living crap out of, well, everything.
The game’s stages, presented in a very neat, pseudo-3D style, are all fully destructible, with bursts of pixels cascading as each rocket tears chunks out of the surrounding structures. However, there’s more incentive to smash these levels to bits than mere visceral thrills, as hidden inside the various environments are a variety of power blocks. I hesitate to call them “power-ups,” though, as roughly a quarter of the 20 blocks offered have detrimental effects and another quarter are mere cosmetic effect changes (rainbow particle effects, firing soccer balls instead of rockets, etc.). Just keep in mind that the blocks are mostly color coded, avoid the red ones, and things should be okay.
Three different control schemes are offered, but I found the onscreen virtual stick setup to be the best, most intuitive option. The movement controls are carried out relative to wherever the player’s left thumb plops down and although the right side is limited to a defined circle for aiming and firing, it’s so generously sized that I never found myself scrambling back to reposition my thumbs. It just works, transparently fading away to the point where I forgot that the controls were even there. And that’s always a good feeling.
Objectives shift over the variously themed stages by including different match types. Most of the time players will be blasting a set number of enemies in arena deathmatches, but the pacing occasionally gets changed up with detours through Destroy the Object levels or a quick Rugby Riot match, which requires a number of goals to be scored by carrying a ball through goal posts. Nothing hugely innovative or different here, but it serves as a nice palate cleanser for when just blasting hordes of pirates/zombies/what-have-you gets a little old.
While the omnipresent theme song may get a bit grating and it sadly lacks the multiplayer modes of the original Xbox version, Rocket Riot still serves up plenty of good, mindless, destructive fun and bizarre quirky charm. Warm up those jet-butts and check it out.