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Forget the wafer thin plot about chasing after some nefarious Mr. Potato Head-looking pirate guy with rocket boosters instead of legs. The real reason you’ll get a major kick out of Rocket Riot is that it saddles you with a hefty bazooka and drops you in a series of large, colorful arenas full of enemies just waiting for you to lob missiles at them. Surprisingly, it takes a lot longer for this premise to wear out its welcome than you might expect.
Large-scale battles set against dozens of rocket launcher-wielding opponents is quickly established as the norm here. The left thumbstick moves your hovering soldier around, while the right thumbstick can be pulled back and flicked in any direction to hurl rockets at your foes. Finding beneficial power ups boosts your destructive might substantially for a short time. But some levels have you doing more than just blasting every foe in sight. You’ll come across stages where you must retrieve a football and safely return it to your goal post while dodging rockets or hunt for hidden characters using a hot-and-cold indicator.
Rocket Riot has a brilliant 8-bit aesthetic that will make retro enthusiasts salivate. The joys that come from ogling the awesomely boxy scenery that shifts from 2D to 3D as you move will turn to rapture once you realize every single bit of this lovingly-crafted pixel art world can be blown to the four winds. Every well timed rocket blast sends a shower of particles spewing every which way. Blowing tunnels through the landscape to reach foes quickly yields a solid battle tactic. The map also regenerates after a short time, letting you and your adversaries destroy it over and over again.
The frantic pace of the main 80-mission campaign mode is nothing in comparison to the all-out frenzy of multiplayer matches. A.I. adversaries can provide a persistent challenge, but human opponents fire faster and tend to fill the screen with random arcs of wayward rockets and blinding explosions of pixels within mere seconds. The resulting chaos is entertaining, if not a bit over-stimulating. With creative level designs and tons of playable characters to unlock, Rocket Riot offers hours of explosive-fueled enjoyment before the fun starts to wane.
Jun 30, 2009
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