ChuChu Rocket!

from SEGA, originally released 28th October, 2010

The cult-classic Dreamcast puzzle game is back with over 500 puzzles and frantic 1 to 4 player multiplayer action.
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Recent posts about ChuChu Rocket!

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Slide To Play Q and A: ChuChu Rocket

Last month, long-time Sega fans had their dreams come true when the Dreamcast classic ChuChu Rocket made its way to the iPhone and iPad. We thought the App Store version held up extremely well in our review, so we wanted to follow up with Binary Hammer, the developers of the port, and find out how it was done. Here’s what Bob Koon, President and Tech Director of Binary Hammer, had to say.

How did Binary Hammer come to develop the iOS version of ChuChu Rocket for Sega?

Bob: We initially developed Sonic 1 for Clickwheel-controlled iPods, and when Sega approached us again they asked if there were any properties we were especially interested in. I immediately brought up ChuChu Rocket!, as I thought we’d be a perfect fit for it. That discussion got put on the backburner at the time, so I was really pleasantly surprised when they reached out to us again earlier this year to see if we were interested in developing the game!

Were the Binary Hammer team big fans of the Dreamcast original?

Bob: Absolutely! We played it all the time just like everyone else did back around 2000. I believe it was this fanboyism that helped us become good candidates to handle the iOS conversion.

What were the unique challenges in porting a Dreamcast game to iOS?

Bob: The biggest problem we had was porting the multiplayer code. The Dreamcast version never had to handle the kinds of situations that the iOS version has to deal with, like interruptions via phone call and making sure everyone’s screens are exactly in sync. Some people may not remember that 4-player mode in the original didn’t have everyone in the same room.

Related to this is the fact that some multiplayer “lag” was included on purpose in the original code to help keep everything in sync. We had to work with that concept while also tweaking the code to accommodate for different hardware speeds. The initial release of the iOS version actually doesn’t show an arrow immediately, and we’ve gotten some feedback from players who found this confusing. The new update, which is just about set, addresses this by acknowledging the arrow gesture with a ‘˜ghost arrow’ that tells the player: ‘the game got your input, here’s where the arrow is going to appear once all the devices are told.’

What updates are coming in the future for ChuChu Rocket?

Bob: We have already submitted an update that includes many bug fixes and enhancements as well as including 100 extra levels. Other features that are in progress for future updates include proper online multiplayer through Game Center, support for Retina display, and of course lots more levels. We’re also planning to include the Puzzle Edit mode and the ability to share levels locally with your friends, as well as more iPad-specific features.

What other Dreamcast games do you think would be a good fit for iOS? Does BH have any involvement in other Sega ports?

Bob: Well, the first brands that immediately come to mind are Space Channel 5, Crazy Taxi, Jet Grind Radio, House of the Dead, and Shenmue. Seaman could be an interesting project as well. We are talking to Sega about more conversions, but I’m not able to provide any details yet!

What is it about ChuChu Rocket that has made it such a long-running cult classic?

Bob: I’d say it’s the wacky visuals and premise combined with a fantastic multiplayer mode. ChuChu Rocket! is the ultimate party game. Game Center wasn’t released until very late in the development cycle for ChuChu Rocket!, so there wasn’t time to fully implement the experience that Dreamcast fans were expecting with the initial release, but we are working very hard to add this (and many other) features to the game through completely free updates.

Reviews:

ChuChu Rocket Review

ChuChu Rocket is a smart puzzle game that originally came out for the Sega Dreamcast back in 1999. It tells the tale of mousy ChuChus trying to avoid being devoured by cat-like KapuKapus. To escape this gory fate, the ChuChus do what any rodents in their right mind would do: Board rockets and launch into space. The game has already stood the test of time, but the real question is, how does this zaniness fit on the touchscreen?

As luck would have it, both ChuChus and KapuKapus are as brain-dead as lemmings, so they’ll walk straight unless they’re forced to turn, either by hitting a wall or by walking over an arrow tile that you’ve laid down on the playing field. Your job on each level is to place arrow tiles that will direct your ChuChus to the awaiting rockets, while keeping them, and their rockets, safe from KapuKapus.

Where can you buy a KapuKapu Halloween costume?

On each level you’re given a set number of tiles, with arrows pointing in particular directions. To lay a tile, just touch the square you want to place your tile on and drag your finger the direction you want the arrow to point. The controls are extremely simple, and they work perfectly on the touchscreen.

The main course of the game is Puzzle Mode, which consists of 100 levels with steadily ramping difficulty. But there’s no real pressure, even when the puzzles become sadistically challenging. The rodents don’t start moving until you press the ‘start’ button, so you can take all the time you need to place the arrow tiles. If bloody murder should befall your ChuChus, it’s no biggie. Just try again.

Multiplayer is bonkers.

Challenge Mode is the game’s sugary dessert. This mode turns the relaxed gameplay of Puzzle Mode on its head and gives you a set amount of time to accomplish a particular goal. The catch is that the ChuChus and KapuKapus are set in motion immediately, and you have to lay down arrow tiles as they scurry around. Thankfully, there’s no limit on which way your arrow tiles can point.

And if Challenge Mode is the dessert, then Multiplayer is the midnight snack. Here, up to four players can compete locally in a fast-paced whirlwind of bizarre action. You can either team up or have everyone compete against each other, and if you don’t have enough players, you can even add computer-controlled bots. It’s a ton of fun, but an obvious omission is online play. Game Center handles achievements and leaderboards for the game, so why not add online multiplayer as well?

But even still, ChuChu Rocket is a superior puzzler, with a terrific gameplay mechanic, three excellent modes, and a ton of content. Whether you’ve played it before or not, pick this game up. The ChuChus will thank you.