iPhone game of the day: ChuChu Rocket!

Will this Dreamcast classic finally get the love it deserves?

Game: ChuChu Rocket!
Price: $2.99 / £1.79
Size: 13.7MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/UK

ChuChu Rocket! is one of those games that immediately defines whether you were a Sony or Sega player a decade ago. If you see the name and come alive with stories about this Dreamcast original'sfrantic puzzle/action gameplay, the more cerebral puzzles that made the Game Boy Advance version even better, and its insaneJapanese commercial, you were clearly a Dreamcast die-hard with exquisite taste.

On the other hand, if seeing the name doesn't do anything for you because youhave never played the game or you [gasp] think it sucks, you're a Sony or Nintendo apologist, a disgrace to gamingwho should not be allowed to everplay a shooter or platformer againuntil you've experienced and testified tothe glory of ChuChu Rocket!, and possiblya simply horrible person.Too harsh? Maybe,but this is no time for platform-specific loyalties. This is bigger thanSega vs Sony vs Nintendo. This is cats and mice andspaceships, and if it had debuted on any other console it would have beenone of the defining games of an entiregeneration.

The game plays like a puzzle version of the cartoon Tom & Jerry. The ChuChus are cute little mice that zoom around the checkerboard-like playfield in a straight line and turn 90 degrees clockwise (to their right) when they hit a wall. Your job is to lay down arrowsto direct them away from the gaping maws of the monstrous orange cats prowling around each level and into the safety of their getaway rocket ships.

In 2-4 person multiplayer orsolo challenge mode, with the arrows coming and going in real time and cats and micecharging around all over the place, it's manic. In puzzle mode, which enables you to lay the arrows down before thecartoon crittersstart streaking across the playfield, it's more cerebral and challenging in a markedly different, arguably even more fantasticway.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the iPhone and iPad versions, in which you place your arrows by touching the spot you wantthe arrowto appear and swiping your finger in the direction you want it to point,are great. The only possible complaint we could muster is that it takes a bit of practice to aim your swipes. Just buy it. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to gaming as a whole.

Nov 15, 2010