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Rocket Patrol

For: iPad

Space race

Product: Rocket Patrol | Developer: GRL Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Rocket Patrol iPad, thumbnail 1
Space travel is made to sound exotic and thrilling by sci-fi films and books, but the truth is that it's rather monotonous.

Astronauts will speak of the daily grind of checks and maintenance tasks, interspersed by long periods of waiting for something to happen.

That's the situation Rocket Patrol finds itself in. It promises to take you to the stars, but fails to lift off thanks to an overly simplistic structure and repetitive gameplay.

Warp speed

Despite the 1950s sci-fi premise of reaching another planet hundreds of light years away, this is a pretty basic card battler with a heavy emphasis on multiplayer.

The idea is to beat your rival rocket ship to your target - a literal space race, if you will. With a starting deck of six random cards, you must strategically play your way to victory.

Your bread and butter cards are those that advance you a set number of light years. You're only allowed to play so many of each value, so it's worth mixing this up a little.

Red cards are used to sabotage your opponent, whether that be a reactor failure, an asteroid strike, or something similarly disastrous. When these are applied to either party, they can no longer move forward without applying the relevant green card.

You also need to apply the blue Hyperspace card before you can use the two permitted 100 light year cards.

It's not rocket science

That's pretty much your lot. While such a simple setup is easy to pick up, it lays bare all of the possible faults of such a card-based system.

Strategies are simplistic - try and vary your light year card usage, save up a spread of green cards for when things go awry - and all of it pales in the face of blind luck. As ever, you can only play the hand you're dealt, and success rarely feels especially merited.

Adding to this lack of depth, there's no real single-player mode to speak of - just the potential for limitless one-off matches against an AI opponent. This leaves room for online multiplayer - but, again, the core system won't keep two players engages for long, especially through the necessarily disjointed to and fro of asynchronous play.

Rocket Patrol is a light and breezy sci-fi card battler, but it's too technologically primitive to carry you to the stars, or to leave you over the moon.
Rocket Patrol
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 2 May 2013
A stripped-back and accessible approach to card battling is Rocket Patrol's selling point, but also its weakness as it lacks the depth and variety necessary to hold your attention
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