Rocket Riot is one of the best downloadable action games of this generation, but Codeglue's masterful shooter sadly never received the attention it deserved on Xbox Live Arcade or Windows Phone 7.
Luckily, Chillingo has brought it over to iOS... and provided us with what is probably the definitive version of this rambunctious killer app. It's magnificent arcade perfection. To quote the soundtrack: here we go now, hold on tight...
Essentially, Rocket Riot is a fast-paced blend of twitchy 2D shooting with Worms' tactical bazooka shenanigans. Perfect virtual analog controls grant you full control over your hovering character (whose legs have been replaced by a powerful jetpack, which we like immensely), while swiping on the screen allows you to choose the perfect amount of power and direction for your shots. It's a refreshingly acccessible and thoroughly satisfying setup, and one that feels natural on both an iPhone or iPad.
The objective of each stage is to annihilate your opposition in as quick a time as possible, but the levels themselves yield to your furious barrage. Each rocket gouges huge chunks out of the regenerating scenery, meaning that the experience dynamically offers new places to hide and cover to exploit... and takes them away just as quickly. As enemies pour into the arenas in frightening numbers - and alternate gametypes challenge you to destroy particular scenery items or play some airborne American football - your abilities will be tested to the limits.
Destroying levels also reveals a variety of powerups that either help, bolster or hilariously hinder players who aren't quick enough to dodge out of the way. Triple rockets and ghostly visitations go hand in hand with embarrassing fart shots - so be sure to check the contents before blindly picking them up!
Rocket Riot is visually stunning. The 'bloxel' (voxel blocks) levels explode in a cacophony of colour and chaos, with sumptuous sprites remastered with a slick HD makeover. It's a universal app - and one that looks pixel-perfect on an iPad's larger screen. Rocket Riot doesn't just impress on a technical level, rather, the vibrant art style and unabashed sense of fun underpins the proceedings and adds a dash of variety to this dull and dreary season.
Sound design is similarly impressive, to the extent where I was compelled to write an entire article about the soundtrack over at Dealspwn. However, there's a major catch. For reasons I can't quite understand (possibly to keep the download file size low), Codeglue only included a handful of constantly-repeated tracks. They're toe-tappingly addictive, but will start to grate after the umpeenth time. It's the only weakness of the package, though for the price, I'm not willing to mark it down too harshly.
On top of the original campaign mode, Codeglue has delivered a new selection of challenging levels that provide yet more bang for your buck. While I'm slightly disappointed that multiplayer isn't available, there's still an enormous amount of quality and value packed into this epic little app.
- Polished, raucous gameplay
- Outstanding presentation and soundtrack
- Great value
- No multiplayer
- Where's the full soundtrack?
Summary: This is the definitive mobile version of the definitive downloadable action game. Stop whatever you're doing and buy Rocket Riot immediately.
Compatibility:Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.
Price: £0.69 - App Store