ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS (hereafter known as Rockets because all-caps offends my delicate sensibilities) is probably the closest a game has come to completely summarizing itself in its title; indeed the developer description highlights this with rather concise brief “ROCKETS fire ROCKETS at ROCKETS” (that’s the last time I’m writing that word in all capital letters).
Rockets is an arcade-style shooter featuring a 2D environment where the titular space vehicles duke it out for supremacy. This is very clearly a party game at heart and everything is kept relatively simple; the titular rockets are all armed identically with an array of missiles, bombs and mines to deploy in fast-paced combat.
Game modes are split between standard battles and zen, which simply allows you to fly about with weapons disabled. I found the latter mode to be largely unnecessary but I suppose it could be relaxing under the right circumstances. The battles can be fought against AI or against up to three other players locally; this can be done in a free-for-all configuration or in any arrangement of teams from 1v3 to 2v2. There is, to my surprise, no online mode and this is a pity as the AI makes for a meager challenge that soon becomes repetitive.
The action itself is quite enjoyable, if lacking in depth. The three weapon types make for a good set of destructive tools and, whilst forward firing missiles are a little more prevalent than the mines or bombs, it feels like all three options see a lot of use. A selection of power-ups exist ranging from time dilation to changing the size of weapon projectiles, and these can be toggled from the settings menu.
Beyond this the game feels quite rudimentary in it offerings; I would have liked to have seen customisable load-outs with different kinds of weapons available- anything to increase the longevity of the game.
Sparkling or Flat
Aesthetically Rockets is sometimes dazzling and its many-colored rocket trails can weave an appealing dance across the screen. I was disappointed to find that each stage featured the same background, however.
Speaking of the stages, there are few on offer but only the “battleship” stage noticeably added new threats or challenges to a battle. That being said my favorite was a vertically-aligned arena that simply forced combat into a more restricted environment.
Come on Baby Light My Fire
Rockets is a fun little party game that anyone can pick up and understand within a couple minutes. Conversely, it doesn’t take long before the full breadth of its offering is apparent; a lack of additional modes and customisation options severely limits the longevity of Rockets.
The absence of an online mode is a real shame as this would provide Rockets with more value as a pick-up-and-play action game, but as it is this will have to wait for when a few friends are about for local action. As a local multiplayer game, Rockets certainly offers a fun, short-term blast, but if you want a game to take you through most of an evening Rockets may not have enough fuel.
Check out the Nintendo Switch trailer for ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS below