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Rocket Claw

For: iPhone

Adrift in deep space

Product: Rocket Claw | Developer: Fugazo | Publisher: Fugazo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Rocket Claw iPhone, thumbnail 1
Smartphone gaming is designed for simple controls. A touchscreen can never successfully replicate the tactile responses that you get from a gamepad or a joystick, no matter how hard it tries.

That's why the most popular games have systems based around simple, translatable movements. You pull back a slingshot, swipe a sword, or cut through a rope.

But controls can be too simple, and that's the hole that Rocket Claw has fallen into.

Clawing for attention

The game is a space faring save-'em-up. You control a cheerily faced claw machine, floating through the vast cosmos, throwing your grabbing arm in all directions to save astronauts from the certain, crushing oblivion of deep space.

Your claw is also your last line of defence against angular lumps of space debris, marauding comets, asteroids, bulbous alien ships, and giant-headed space beasts. To survive, you have to choose between saving lives and protecting your own.

You fling your claw by tapping anywhere on the screen. It then extends, and grabs or smashes anything that's in its way. And that's it. That's the only input you have in the game.

Deeply clawed

You can pick up upgrades to your claw that make its grabs more grabby and its smashes more smashing, as well as upgrades and boosts for your ship. For this you can use the game's currency: purple crystals that you collect each time you play.

The distribution of crystals is miserly, though, so unless you intend to play for hours on end you'll have to use the in-app purchase system to buy some. Alongside purchasing the upgrades, you can also use crystals to unlock game modes and different characters.

The problem is, the game modes are almost identical to the one you get to begin with, and the new character is just a slightly different skin with an extra life. Nothing really changes, and you're left tapping the screen, saving astronauts and astrodogs, and wondering why you're bothering.

I am the claw

Rocket Claw's controls are just too far abstracted from its theme. Even a swiping motion would be more exciting, but all you have to do is tap, occasionally glancing at the screen to see if you're dead yet.

It's not a terrible game. It just fails to engage with the player at the most basic level. You don't feel like you're controlling the happy little spaceship - you feel like you're controlling the nondescript claw. You're a well-oiled space machine, fulfilling a specific duty with the minimum of fuss.

There are worse ways to waste a few minutes, but Rocket Claw is a hollow experience. It's repetitive, lacks content, and while it sometimes gets interesting - when the screen's full of space junk and flailing space travellers - more often than not you'll find yourself being sent to sleep by your monotonous, endless task.
Rocket Claw
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 10 October 2011
A simple, one note space simulator that gets very old, very fast, and fails to save itself from the yawning oblivion of the cosmos
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