Rocks N’ Rockets Review – Rather Fun Really
I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of Rocks N’ Rockets from TikGames when I first heard of it. It seemed like a shameless Missile Command clone. And indeed, upon starting the game up, it clearly is a Missile Command clone. But after a few minutes of playing I realized that a Missile Command clone is not such a bad thing, and that they did actually add some innovations, or at least complications, to make it different than simply being a remake of Missile Command.
Missile Command was a 1970s arcade game that had the player defending cities from wave after wave of incoming nuclear missiles, by using their own defensive missiles, aimed by a track ball. It was a very popular game, with an edge to it that was really unmatched by anything else of the day, thanks to the Cold War fears of the time.
Rocks N’ Rockets steps back the nightmarish scenario a bit, in this you are defending various cities from falling rocks from the sky. Which is still bad, but not nuclear holocaust bad. It plays essentially the same, except the falling rocks come in different flavors. Or more accurately, different temperatures. Some of them are fireballs, some of them are iceballs. You need to use fire missiles versus the iceballs and ice missiles versus the fireballs. If you use the wrong sort of missile, it doubles in size.
There are also regular rocks. These can be hit by any type of missile, but require 3 hits. Besides the two types of rockets, you have a superbomb, which will destroy everything on the screen. Unfortunately, you only get three of these and they are not replenished every level, you only gain more by gaining powerups.
Powerups are the other thing that sets it apart from Missile Command. Little floating orbs will cross the screen horizontally – shoot them and you get a powerup. These can range from simply more missiles and superbombs to a shield that protects your cities for a while, to different types of shots, to even an automated sidekick laser pod that randomly helps you shooting down stuff.
While always handy, on some levels these are essential. Some for instance, don’t give you enough missiles to complete the wave of falling debris, but the more rocket powerups are frequent. While I guess this adds a strategy element to the game, somewhat, I think it detracts from the overall experience.
There are 100 levels, divided up into ten different regions around the world. Every ten levels, the region changes, though this pretty much just changes the background graphics. You can quit and load a game later, you don’t have to play through all 100 levels in one setting.
Besides the main mode, there’s also “Marathon” where the cosmic clutter (to use the ESRB’s surprisingly poetic phrase) keeps on falling rather than coming in levels. In this you get an infinite amount of missiles. There are also three difficulty levels you can pick, though oddly I found “Easy” to be harder than “Normal”.
I found this a lot more fun than I expected. It’s not something I would spend hours playing, but for 10 minutes here or there, it’s pretty nice.