Rocket Riot rocks my world.
I'm not just saying that to take advantage of a cheap pun. The original blew me away on Xbox Live Arcade with its outstanding gameplay and riotous fun factor - and without hyperbole, the mobile version is Windows Phone 7's killer app.
iOS has Angry Birds. Android has... also got Angry Birds. And WP7 has Rocket Riot.
Codeglue have crafted an addictive and thoroughly refreshing experience by combining the tactics of the Worms franchise with the immediate thrills of twinstick shooters. Your legless character (who you can choose from a bewildering selection of soldiers, pirates, zombies and sentient frozen desserts) has an enormous rocket pack instead of legs, and can lob bazooka shells at enemies with a flick of your right thumb. Whilst moving your riotous rocketeer is all about twitchy reflexes, aiming your shots requires a degree of precision and skill.
Throughout the 48 levels - that are cobbled together by a hilariously tongue-in-cheek quest to hunt down an inept pirate - you'll frequently have to fend off respawning waves of enemies that descend upon you in huge, colourful hordes. Other objectives include destroying key objects and engaging in games of rugby against huge enemy teams, but regardless, you'll have a lot of opponents to deal with.
Luckily the scenery is completely destructible, which allows you to carve out hidey-holes and escape routes if things get too tough. A selection of powerups that can be useful, cosmetic or plain unhelpful (such as causing your character to fart out rockets vertically downwards) provides an extra dimension to the action.
In fact, I'd go as far as saying that Rocket Riot features improved controls and handling on a WP7 handset as opposed to an Xbox 360 controller. Gravity and momentum have been tweaked and tightened, resulting in an exceptionally responsive experience. Even the ferociously-tough rugby levels are much easier now due to the ability to descend and hover at will.
However, Rocket Riot's presentation ultimately steals the show. It's a retro homage through and through, but each pixel is a standalone cube that realistically responds to a surprisingly powerful physics engine. As well as eyepopping colour and clarity, the constant explosions and shower of coloured blocks is a genuine feast for the eyes that rivals anything we've seen on a mobile handset.
My only gripe would be that the 88 levels of the original have been reduced to 48 this time around, but frankly, I couldn't care less. Rocket Riot still packs the quality and quantity to be considered as best in class.
- Fast, furious, smooth action
- Lavish nu-retro presentation
- Slick, well-implemented controls
- Highlights the lack of other essential games for WP7
Summary: Rocket Riot is a killer app, an essential purchase and a masterclass in arcade perfection. Deserves to become a phenomenon as well as a franchise.
Price: £3.99 - Xbox Live Marketplace