Rocket Racing (AKA Aero Racer) Review – Remarkably Addictive

rocket-racing-6Rocket Racing is a futuristic top down racing game from Halfbrick Studios, the last of their four announced Minis. Unlike most other top down racing games, you control a rocket powered hover craft. As a hover craft, you don’t have any brakes and you steer by rotating and applying thrust in the new direction.

Complicating matters is that you get a extra boost in speed when your rocket stream touches the wall (like a real life “ground effect”). In game, this is called “grinding” and mastering it is really the key to success. It’s also a lot of fun to do.

There is also a puzzle aspect to some tracks. There are a handful of different zone types, which can do things like boost your speed or stop your thrusters from working. This, along with the grinding, requires you to figure out the best way to get around a track. Which is true of any racing game, but it adds new factors to the usual formula, making it a fresh experience.

There are four gameplay modes. Campaign, Grand Prix, Quick Race and Party Mode.

Campaign is the meat of the game. You have a flowchart of challenges to accomplish. When you achieve one, one or two more become unlocked. The challenges can range from winning the race, to achieving a set number of grind points, to a myriad of other things. The variety keeps it from being repetitive.

rocket-racing-2There are seven of these flowcharts, and each has more than a dozen challenges. So that’s quite a bit of gameplay here, even considering each one takes no more than a few minutes to accomplish. You do not have to finish one flowchart entirely to unlock the next, but you do have to complete most of it.

Grand Prix has you take part in several races. Depending on how you finish, you earn a number of points. At the end of the series, the most points is the winner.

Quick Race is like it sounds. You simply pick a difficulty and race. The difficulty just seems to decide which track is chosen.

Party Mode is a very interesting take at multiplayer. One person does a lap, achieving a time or high grind score. He then passes the PSP to another player, who tries to beat it. If he can’t, he’s out. If he does, he passes it to the next player who tries to beat the new time. Until finally one person is left.

It’s fun, perhaps a little frustrating at first, but less so than most top down racers I have played. And addictive. Indeed, while playing this, I suddenly noticed the low battery indicator came on, something that hasn’t happened to me in a long, long time.

On the down side, there are no leaderboards for the track (best time and what not), nor can you enter your name, you simply get called by the color you picked (”Green Player” or “Red Player”, etc).

There are also some reports of the game not autosaving your campaign progress correctly, and after being alerted of this possibility, I noticed it happening to me as well. So there’s room for improvement. But it’s certainly one of the best Minis yet.

Score: 9/10

(And a big thanks to Maura for letting me have such an enjoyable game for my first review here, instead of well, Ice Truckers)

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17 Responses to “Rocket Racing (AKA Aero Racer) Review – Remarkably Addictive”
  1. Durell says:


  2. djax says:

    Great game, but after finishing campaigns there is no replayability value, because there are no best times for the races, or best grinds… Its annoying, that I cannot beat my best times on the races, I missing mode such as “Time trial” or “Best grind” :-( . For this reason has this game my score 7.5/10 – after finishing campaings (its quite easy) there is no reason to play game again :-/.

    We must wait for Rocket Racing 2, and pray for the new game modes…

  3. JeremyR says:

    You could always delete your save game and do it again?

    I think by their nature, most minis are going to be well, mini. I would like to see this turned into a full fledged title, I think that would work out quite well.

  4. NIck says:

    An excellent games that sets the standard for minis. Great presentation and a joy to play. surely rubbish like deflector cannot be tolerated in the future now!

  5. Coletan says:

    You should tell us how much it costs.

  6. koenigseggrocks says:

    $4.99 in the US, and I’m not sure about EU or other countries….

  7. prince caro 19 says:

    its 5$,
    but why should he? if your interested cant you just look on the psn?

    not a bad review Jeremy, so, congrats on your first of what will hopefully become several good reviews.

    i think theres some things i wish i saw more of in this game (particularly a chase mode, as that was one of the funnest bits in the campian mode)
    but surely it deserves that 9/10,
    as it does what it aims to do, and does it well,
    the multiplayer is really fun (especially how you can see the previous racer, that was a very cool touch),
    visually its excellent (especially on the ps3), i like how the speed grid morphs when you go on it, kinda like geometry wars,
    and the gameplay is well done,
    the rocket handles well,
    and the idea of boasting off the walls, genius! the closer to the wall you get the faster you go, but if you hit it, you lose speed, its kinda like a risk/reward thing, and the career mode gets pretty challenging.
    i bought this and “Blast Off!” now i believe a better name for it would have been “Blast On!”,
    five bucks well spent!

  8. koenigseggrocks says:

    Get Echoes, too, if you haven’t yet. Great game! :) Cheats have been revealed, I tested them, they really do work. Just go to the topic “WHOOP! I CAN HAZ BUY ROCKET RACERS!” And you should see it near the bottom. It’s just alternate controls, but totally awesome if you liked the old style.

  9. prince caro 19 says:

    for $3,
    i will definitely buy echoes when i get the chance.

    dont think ill use the alternate controls, but thats cool.

  10. koenigseggrocks says:

    Yeah, I know some people have complained about not having original controls, but now that’s fixed! But hey, you like the older style, that’s fine. And Echoes will be the absolute best $3 that you have EVER spent lol :)

  11. Stranno says:

    My review (spanish):

    And my video:

  12. Flare says:

    I am currently at level 6 in this game.

    This one only has 5 levels, all of which demand pure perfection. The very first one requires you to beat a perfect bot, I passed that one. The next 4 open up. One of them wants to you clear 10 checkpoints in 18 seconds… I passed it with 35 microseconds remaining. Another one has you beat a track in 1:02 minutes… I passed that one with less than 20 microseconds remaining.

    The final two, on which I’m struggling are. Make 450 points in a single grind, in a minuscule track; and the other one has you make 3600 of total grind points, while finishing before 1 minute is up.

  13. confuletlyf says:

    anyone notice the age of zombies billboard on the first screenshot?

    if this is still on sale i’ll have to pick it up.

  14. spike_03 says:

    lol i just beat the intense leavel 6!!! the 450 total grind points is the first one i beat..the rest kinda of just happened after many attempts…but btw u have a whole minute to do the 450 single grind..i didnts use the upward curve to get it…lol its not hard but its figuring it out what is hard..yes.we are seroius lmao

    “spike_03′ is my ps3 account add me and ill walk you throu it..

  15. Phaota says:

    Looks like Wipeout Pure or Pulse from a top-down perspective. Might be enjoyable since I love the Wipeout games.

  16. incpdo says:

    Yeah! is there any difference between EUR version and USA? besides the name of course.

  17. taoofgreentea says:

    Fun. Uses the ancient propulsion mechanic in early arcade games where you try to land the little rover. I dig it.

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