RocketsRocketsRockets Review: Pick Up, Play, and Get Wowed
How many games can you name that offer you their entire experience in under 5 minutes? I'll be honest, many don't come to mind. RocketsRocketsRockets by Radial Games for the Nintendo Switch is certainly one of them, though. But is this shmup-party action game as fun as it's name implies?
Functionally speaking; Rockets plays like most shmups. Unlikely most, it's not a vertical or horizontal stage scroller. You play throughout the entire space of stages of varying size. You can play on a number of maps against AI or up to four friends. The goal is simple: survive. Survive until you're number one.
What's In A Name?
Rockets isn't deep, everything you need to know is right in it's name. This is in no way a knock against it. To win, you just need to blow up everyone else with...you guessed it, rockets! It's a quick pick up play title with a few modes: quick match, zen, and tournament.
The game's ships, missiles, and rockets are all very fast. Speed is key to victory. As you zoom by opponents you can try to blanket foes in explosions like a fireworks show. The keyword here is that you can try. You can take advantage of the various map layouts and fly into your opponents or trap someone in a corner to chip away at their life and lead yourself to victory. There's so many things that you can do to win. All of it can happen in mere minutes.
It's a great reminder of what games can and should be. They all don't need to be grand sweeping theatrical events. They can still be like the arcades games of decades past, something fun to play for five minute or five hours. There doesn't have to be much of a driving force outside of beating your friends or AI. RocketsRocketsRockets isn't just a nice distraction, it's an enjoyable experience that doesn't request much commitment to get pulled in.
That Sure Is Pretty
You miss it during all the frantic gameplay but Rockets is an audio-visual treat. For example, parts of the stage pulsate in sync with the beat of the song that's playing.
Along with the pulsating stages, your ships also leave streaks of color in space. If you pause the game you'll notice they also glow, which looks great in its own way. Using your shield also lets off small, colorful particles and unleashing your missiles explodes in a rainbow of colors. It's honestly a color feast for the eyes.
Of course, a game like this needs the right soundtrack. The music is a mix of high tempo electronica, chill synthwave, and thumping techno. Not many games have audio that fits perfectly, but RocketsRocketsRockets is one of those few. The music and visual pairing brings it all together into a cohesive package that is hard to pull your eyes (and ears) away from.
A lot of detail has gone into creating this game and it really shows. Personally, I think the best example is the game's Zen mode.
Radial Games decided to add a little quality of life feature with Zen mode. Weapons are deactivated and you can just fly around stages enjoying the music. Alternatively, you can just pick your favorite song and leave the game on as you just relax -- more games need to do this!
A Word of Criticism
I had trouble thinking of some criticisms, but the few I have lie in how this game diverts from the standard shmup formula.
One is the lack of a proper arcade mode from stage to stage. I like testing my skills set by the via an arcade mode. Also, not having a highscore tracker seems odd. I think it would be great to know how well I'm doing.
Again, not having these doesn't devalue the experience in anyway. These are ultimately small qualms.
One Last Hurrah
Had a long day at work or school? Do you want to just jump into some mayhem and blow off some steam? Rockets is the game for you.
Perhaps you're not sold on that... that's fair. Do you just love games with impressive physics and utterly colorful explosions? Then by all means, you should definitely play RocketsRocketsRockets. It's fun for the whole family.
Fans of shmups, indie games, and or arcade games can find RocketsRocketsRockets available on the Nintendo Switch eShop Today.
[Note: The publisher provided the copy of RocketsRocketsRockets used in this review.]