Rocket Riot is a crazy game. It’s an over-the-top shooter with destructible environments and tiny little men who are actually rockets wielding cannons. It’s a fun, and often challenging experience, marred slightly by overly loose controls and occasionally frustrating visual effects. Thankfully this isn’t a game where precision is necessary.
Rocket Riot plays like a twin stick shooter, only from a side-scrolling perspective instead of top down. You control your little rocket man’s movement with your left thumb and fire with the right. It’s easy to understand and use, but it can feel a little to loose much of the time. Everything in Rocket Riot tends to happen very quickly, and so it never really feels like you’re fully in control of your character.
We’ll all float on.
In many shooters this would be a major issue, but not so in Rocket Riot. The game tends to be very forgiving when it comes to movement and so, while the controls can be frustrating, they don’t diminish the game significantly. Rocket Riot spans a 48 level campaign– as well as six bonus levels, which aren’t included in the campaign for reasons we don’t quite understand– that gets progressively more difficult as you continue. Enemies feel smarter and come at you in bigger numbers, and you’ll take on bosses that can be a real challenge to defeat.
Most levels have a simple goal in mind: kill X amount of bad guys without dying. These are fast and hectic, but thankfully there are other types of stages to mix up the action. In addition to the aforementioned boss battles, there are also levels where you’ll need to destroy a certain number of objects before you can move on, or where you’ll need to carry a football between goalposts on the other side of the level. It’s goofy, yes, but also quite enjoyable.
Now that’s green.
Rocket Riot’s main gimmick, though, is its destructible environments. Everything that gets in your way can be cleared by firing your weapon. It’s almost like digging. But as opposed to disappearing forever, the destroyed bits of environment will slowly regenerate. Of course, you can always blow them back up again once they do. This feature is very fun to play around with at first, but it has the side effect of making every stage feel virtually the same. Since all of the obstacles can be destroyed, they don’t have much impact on how you move about the level.
There’s also a visual problem with the destructible environments, especially when you’re destroying a lot at once. Because as you clear them away bits of debris, which take the form of large pixels, will start spraying everywhere. When you clear away a huge chunk of the level the amount of pixels on screen makes it feel too busy and ultimately distracting. The same goes for the tilt screen visual effect that happens every so often, which looks cool but really makes it difficult to see everything around you clearly.
Along with the controls, these visual problems can make Rocket Riot frustrating at times. But if you can look past the occasional annoyance, there’s a lot to enjoy. The action is fast and fun, the power-ups are a joy to use (even the ones that don’t necessarily help you out), and and the destructible environments give the game a unique feel.