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iPhone  header logo

Rocket Robo


For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

LunarBigPlanet

Product: Rocket Robo | Developer: Bad Kraken Games | Publisher: Bad Kraken Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.01
 
Rocket Robo iPhone, thumbnail 1
'Navigating to the level exit while collecting stuff.'

We could probably use that one sentence to describe a good half of the iOS games we play in a month.

Of course, it's the journey to those exits that sets each game apart - the movement mechanics, the controls, the graphics, the level design.

On each of those counts, Rocket Robo's journey is very eventful indeed.

Timely boost

Imagine someone rebuilt the Atari classic Lunar Lander using LittleBigPlanet's level editor (which someone somewhere probably has), and you'll end up with something close to Bad Kraken Games's Rocket Robo.

In each level, you are required to guide a rocket-powered robot to the level exit. By touching the screen, you initiate your unlimited boost. By tilting your handset left and right, you steer your course.

It's a very intuitive way to scoot about these attractive environments, with momentum and gravity important in the setting of the parameters of your movement.

Bad Kraken applies an additional layer of complexity here by granting you the ability to scoot back and forward between the two layers of each level by swiping up and down on the screen. You use this ability to find hidden blue stars and secret routes.

Level up

Indeed, it's the game's twisty level design and the varied ways its solid movement system is applied that gradually elevates Rocket Robo from pretty novelty to accomplished spatial puzzler.

From a basic start, Bad Kraken soon supplies new elements and one-off gimmicks in the levels. There's a stage in which you have to punt a football into a goal, stages in which you rotate, stages that fill up with lava, and stages in which you teleport around.

All this is underpinned by a simply gorgeous graphics engine. Bad Kraken combines cutesy 2.5D arts and craft (hence the LittleBigPlanet reference) with Pixar sci-fi and some lovely real-time lighting effects.

Glitch in the system

Rocket Robo isn't perfect. Some elements feel half-baked or just plain unfinished, such as the abrupt end-of-level animations or the occasional glitch.

Those who like to have their hands held with spell-it-out tutorials may also find themselves slightly confused in places. And some of the secondary layer access points are a little indistinct from the foreground.

It also feels like there should have been a use for all of the stars that you find yourself collecting beyond simple completism.

Overall, though, this is just about the most elegant example of 'navigating to the level exit while collecting stuff' that we've seen so far in 2014.
 
Rocket Robo
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 4 February 2014
Rocket Robo is a charming and attractive casual puzzler in which its maker fleshes out its basic concept with solid controls and varied level design
 
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