Retro games aren’t really my thing. I’m one of the youngest staff members and the first console I owned was a PSOne so you can imagine giving me a game like Rocks n’ Rockets was forcing me back into an unknown era. Thankfully, it was a pleasant surprise.
After a little research, I found the basis of this Mini to come from Missile Command, a 1980s arcade game, and as soon as the main menu appears, this is clear to see. Two modes are available to play, the aptly named “Arcade” and “Marathon.” Both are very similar, with Marathon simply flinging endless waves at the player instead of a set amount on different maps, like Arcade.
For those of you that have played Missile Command, the gameplay will be familiar. The player must defend the cities from meteors that come in different forms, normal, ice and fire. Relevant rockets are supplied (water and fire) to destroy the hazards and if things get a little too hectic, a nuke-style bomb can be used to destroy all the rocks onscreen. Shooting the boulders with the wrong missiles will result in them growing and needing to be swiftly dealt with by more (correct) rockets. As the intensity of rocks increases, this feature becomes more and more prominent because of the overlapping paths of the falling debris.
Power-ups often float across the screen, in an attempt to relieve the player but I never really felt pressured until the last few locations, of which there are ten (with ten levels in each). The powers offer such things like repairs to the city, automated sentry bots to help you in battle, or just more rockets, a comforting feature during the latter levels. Unfortunately even with these features, the game begins to feel repetitive but the nature of Minis does not require you to play them constantly for long periods of time so this can go unnoticed.
For me, the best feature of the Minis is the option to play on PS3 and PSP. Unfortunately, some games suffer on the big screen but surprisingly Rocks n’ Rockets holds up well. In fact, I’d recommend playing on the PS3 over the PSP for one reason, the analog stick. A major fault of the PSP has always been the flimsy and awkward-to-use analog stick and a game like this suffers because of it. The D-Pad can instead be used but that also feels slower. Graphically, it also fairs well on the PS3 but the style of gameplay lends itself more to the PSP. It really is a hard decision as to which console to play on but remember you can easily copy your save between them.
- Quick and easy gameplay on the PS3
- Graphically pleasing
- Perfect for ten minute sessions on the go
- Feels sluggish on the PSP
- After 50 levels, the gameplay does become repetitive
Rocks n’ Rockets would be the perfect fit in a retro gamers life. The downfalls aren’t entirely its fault but there is a noticeable difference between the consoles. A touchscreen PSP or Move on the PS3 might have made the gameplay more enjoyable but for only £3.99 you can’t go wrong. As with most Minis, it’s the perfect remedy to the modern-day onslaught of FPSs. Score: 7/10