Rocket Riot XBLA Review
Nub Shooter –
What happens if you chop off your arms and legs, grab a rocket launcher, and install a jet pack your nubby body? Rocket Riot, that’s what.
You take control of a nub rocket wielder who is on a mission to do…something. Unfortunately, the game’s story makes absolutely no sense, but that is perfectly acceptable because there is no need for a plotline when blowing s*** up is the point of the game. Using a dual analog control scheme, the player moves with the left stick but shoots with the right. Unlike other popular action shooting games that use this control style, the right analog stick does not shoot out a constant stream of bullets. Instead, the player uses a more “wind up and flick” technique. Because you cannot shoot rapid fire, there are times when the control isn’t as fluid as it could be, like when the screen is overloaded with enemies, when there is one enemy left, or when an enemy is right next to you. However, not having the ability to shoot rapid fire also brings a greater sense of structure and balance to the game.
Since each shot is aimed with the right analog stick, the game requires a certain amount of precision which is sure to separate the men from the boys during deathmatch. Killing enemies this way is even linked directly to Achievements such as the “kill 50 enemies with long shots.” Because of this, there is a slight learning curve to how the player shoots, but controlling the character’s movement is flawless. The use of the rocket-butt allows the player to move quickly with ease, and if you want to move down, just let gravity do the work for you. It is a unique way to control the gameplay, but is definitely advantageous and works quite well.
The game features many different types of missions which always keeps things fresh. One level might have you killing “X” amount of enemies, while the next might have you blowing up certain parts of the stage, after playing a friendly game of football. Even multiplayer has some unique gameplay modes like Golden Guy, where the guy in gold armor is designated as “it” and cannot shoot to defend himself. All the single and multiplayer modes have their own Leaderboard records too, making sure that the competition stays fierce between you and your friends. Rocket Riot certainly has enough spice in the gameplay department.
A game like this just wouldn’t be fun without power-ups. Hidden through each stage are a number of different items that will help, or hinder, your well-being. Each item is color coded to help distinguish the good power ups from the bad. The only thing that sucks about this system is the icon that is imprinted on each item…they are just too small to see and neither the tutorial, nor the instructions, explains what each one does. Only through testing and memorization will the player learn the functionality with each item. And the tutorial isn’t much of a tutorial at all. The game just places you in the middle of a stage with no guidance or direction at all. It is more of an experimental room if anything, just to tinker around with the controls.
The biggest aspect that stands out about this XBLA action game is its visual presentation. Using old school 2D block pixel art but rendering everything in 3D is really nothing short of brilliant and entertaining. In fact, it is kind of reminiscent of Super Paper Mario. This retro but modern twist displays some interesting physics as things blow apart and looks great with its vibrant color pallet. And just like hitting the last peg in Peggle, the game slows down when the final baddie is blown to bits for an added cool, Matrix-style effect. The game’s visual style is complimented well by the addictive audio sound track. If you play this game for more than 10 minutes, I guarantee you will be humming the “Rocket Riot, Rocket Riot” robotic-voiced tune for days after you play.
Rocket Ride is a great game for the XBLA. The simple, but addictive, gameplay mechanics make this a perfect fit for the downloadable platform. Whether you want to play different types of single player modes, co-op, deathmatch, and keep track of your listing on Leaderboards, this game has it all. It’s a great title for 800 MS Points and is highly recommended. At the very least, check out the demo just to take a peak at the game’s creative visual style.