Jul 31, 2013
Remember when games weren’t about getting all of the achievements or completing all of the levels? There used to be a time where you’d play a game not to finish it but to simply get better at it. Pac-Man, Tetris, Donkey Kong – all they had was the allure of the ‘High Score’ to keep you playing.
Rocket Island is a throwback to those days gone by. It’s a puzzle game that forces you to think quickly and react even quicker and all it offers in return is the promise of doing better next time. This may sound like a game that’s in for a bit of a rough review, but it’s not. Rocket Island is fantastic.
Like all good puzzle games, the premise is simple. A grid of hexagons sit in front of you and you have to build up combos of continuous lines through this grid. The catch being that the combos have to be of an exact length and this length gets bigger and bigger. For example, you start off needing to touch one hexagon. Then you need to drag your finger over two, then three, then four and so on. Another barrier to this simple idea of dragging your finger over the screen is that each dragged out combo needs to be made of hexagons that are the same ‘type’.
After dragging your finger over a hexagon, it ‘levels up’, until it reaches its final form, a rocket, and launches into space saving the island’s people and giving you more time to play. Does that make sense? Is that clear? It may seem a bit lazy to say ‘look at the video’, but the video clearly explains in 5 seconds what I’ve attempted in 140 words.
A minor criticism I have with the game is the sometimes too random nature of doing well. With volcanoes and earthquakes doing their best to ruin your combos and tarnishing a run at a high score, it can sometimes feel unfair. This may have been just my way of coping with defeat or looking for excuses, but one too many times I’ve had a meteor smash dead into the middle of a group of 10 rockets I was just about launch. This ate up time, stopped me from getting a time bonus due to launching said rockets and resulted in my game being over.
The fact I was annoyed enough by this to remember it should go some way to how invested you can become in a good run. There’s a real thrill and sense of reward to see a huge combo of rockets take off that a lot of puzzle games just don’t have. It’s also pleasing to see that the game’s developers don’t let you ‘pay to win’. This is a free game and all it asks is that you to look at an advert at the end of every game or to unlock the full title by downloading a partnered app or pay little more than a dollar.
Rocket Island is a great puzzle title that doesn’t offer huge amounts of content, but instead relies on fantastic gameplay to hook you in and always want to have ‘one more go’.