14/12/2018

๐Ÿš€ Review: Rockets Rockets Rockets (Switch) - "Substance in style, the gaming conundrum that is Rockets Rockets Rockets" ๐Ÿš€ #IndieGame #GameDev

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Between watching trailers, pouring over screen grabs and even embarking on that first initial playthrough of a title, it can be possible to completely get the wrong idea about what a game is designed to be or how it should be played.

Rockets Rockets Rockets by Radial Games for example, is beautiful looking and sounding retro-style competitive multiplayer shooter, but I am not entirely sure this is really the best description of how the game should be played or enjoyed.


Yes, it is possible to enlist three friends or computer opponents to fly around colourful, yet somewhat limited arenas with, all whilst trying to shoot or blow each other up with mines.  Each character meanwhile leaves behind different coloured jet trails, that seemingly change colour depending on button presses, in your wake.

There are different coloured rockets to pick, each with their own unique capabilities and manoeuvrability in order to create a sense of choice for the player. But the shooting elements in Rockets Rockets Rockets are not entirely satisfying and combat can almost feel secondary to the design and soundtrack of the game, which is stellar.

Often, the process of hitting or taking out an enemy with your projectiles or mines feels like the result of luck much more than skill,

The game’s controls closely mirror classic arcade titles such as Asteroid, or more modern takes on that same game such as Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.

The player maneuvers their shape around a 2D arena by rotating their ship in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction and then firing thrusters when in the direction they wish to go forward.  

This can allow for some amusing aerobatics as you send a ship spinning into the colourful expanses of space leaving pretty jet trails in your wake.

This can oddly begin to become more rewarding than the process of shooting other ships with the game mirroring old painting and drawing programmes of the Amiga home computer area, where players could experiment with different paint techniques in a dark black void.

Alongside the deathmatch competitive mode, the game, in its current inaugural build, includes a tournament mode to be played with friends, as well as a ‘Zen’ mode.  Here, you fly a ship alone through an arena, spinning and boosting, leaving behind jet streams in your carefree wake.
At any point in the game, the player can slow down time and the game’s soundtrack, and then use the right control stick to play around with around the camera angle in which you view the 2D arena, albeit from in a 3D perspective.  From here, you can view the path of your ship, as well as its luminous movement patterns from a variety of different angles as if you are disappearing into the canvas itself, all this is done to a selection of chill-out tunes that make up the game’s soundtrack.

In a certain frame of mind, it can be an experience to disappear into, as if flying in and out of your own brushstrokes in a painting, letting you trace the ghost of minutes or perhaps even hours of gameplay as mapped out in beautiful jetstreams.  

The purpose of this almost carefree mode is entirely what you make of it, and is arguably as esoteric or redundant as your patience will allow.  But this is perhaps much more unique and fulfilling then flying after other ships to try and shoot them in a cavalcade of explosions and bullets.

Rockets Rockets Rockets is a game I would argue could almost pretentiously be called a platform in that its full potential, particularly from a creative or therapeutic standpoint, doesn't quite seem to have been realised in its current form.

Yet at a cost of £3.99, is it certainly a fascinating curio rather than an essential, budget multiplayer game for the Switch.  A more chilled-out experience that allows you to get lost in its visuals and music, thanks to a nifty 3D-light camera feature, Rockets Rockets Rockets arguably has much more value as an abstract art programme in the vain of old school paint programmes than a retro shooter.

It is something I find is easy to admire, but a lot harder to love as a shooter.

Summary:
This is truly deserving as a Games Freezer Melting rating. 
Not for everyone, but there is something wonderful lurking in here as a beautiful looking and sounding chill-out experience, particularly for a player in need of some downtime - probably in a darkroom.

Neil Merrett is the co-founder of the sometimes pretentious gaming site www.squareblind.co.uk.  

He may have been on some strong-ish painkillers for parts of this game playthough.