Review: Rocket Riot (Xbox 360)July 7th, 2009 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: Reviews, Xbox 360
While all of these established series flood the XBLA market, it’s refreshing to see some more original titles get a chance to shine amongst all of the ports, remakes, and condensed versions of popular games on Xbox Live Arcade. Rocket Riot comes all the way from Dutch developer Codeglue as their first XBLA game, which a 2.5D shooter that features a very unique art style.
Though the visual styles may be different, Rocket Riot’s gameplay shares an overall similarity with that of PSN’s Crash Commando, which is another 2.5D shooter where you aim with the right stick while moving with the left along with an over-the-top style of violence. Crash Commando features more gore in its violence while Rocket Riot focuses on the deconstruction of the environment and enemies into tiny pixels. Rocket Riot also focuses on just the use of a rocket launcher with many power-ups that can offer positive, negative, or neutral changes to your abilities. Both games do owe a lot to one of the original games of this style of gameplay in Soldat for the PC.
The main mode that you’ll tackle when alone in Rocket Riot is the single-player campaign mode, which features 80 levels stretched across eight themed worlds. Each of these levels are set around a few different goals that are offered, like standard deathmatch, a one-sided CTF variant featuring a rugby and goalpost, boss levels, and more that get progressively harder as you progress through the campaign. The first pirate world may seem to be easy, but the challenge starts kicking in quickly to make the achievement for beating all 80 levels a good challenge. It wasn’t too hard to just spam the shooting motion on the right stick to launch numerous missiles in the general directions of enemies or bits of the environments until your goal’s completed, though it’s easy to see that skillful shooting will help you be more efficient for both single-player and multiplayer modes.
Alongside the campaign is an endurance mode that is basically a series of escalating deathmatch games where the required amount of kills gradually increases, which would be a nice place to go for some straight up action with just AI enemies. When you kill new enemies that you haven’t seen before, you unlock them to use as your character in the single-player and multiplayer modes. Power-ups range from very useful perks like giant rockets to frustrating perks like your ammo turning into cartoon flags that pop out of your gun to superfluous perks like extra exploding bits when you destroy parts of the environments.
The online mode in Rocket Riot features a few of the campaign modes mixed with some new modes that are adapted for eight players to play over LAN or online. These includes the rugby-style CTF variant, deathmatch, a king of the hill variant, and a defend the base variant that are all fun in their own right, though it doesn’t seem like there’s a huge selection of games going at any time. Local multiplayer sticks to just four players over deathmatch or the King of the Hill mode along with a co-op mode that’s basically the endurance mode from the single-player mode that lets you recruit three friends to play with you. Multiplayer definitely is a good fit for this style of shooter gameplay and the selection of modes that are offered helps it be a fun way to use the skills you get from playing the single-player campaign.
Rocket Riot does look like a 2D game with colorful sprites, but once you move, the camera’s perspective tilts a bit so you can see that there’s a third dimension to its styled sprites. The environments are completely destructible within the area that will regrow after a few seconds, so you can easily blast your way through walls if you are impatient about traversing the level. Enemies also explode in bits of color like the environments, which can be enhanced with certain power-ups if you’re into that. You’ll easily see the AI also blasting their way through the environment, too, but you will often see them bunching up in spots as others join a certain AI’s push through a big wall. The music is also simply done and a nice fit for the over-the-top atmosphere along with the infectious “Rocket Riot, Rocket Riot!” chant that you’re rewarded with when you beat levels in the campaign mode.
Rocket Riot may not have the well-known name attached to it that helps many of the other XBLA games coming out these days to get a good-sized community to form around it, but it has more than enough charm and attitude that makes it quite a lot of fun to play for short or long periods of time. The 800 point, or $10, price tag is very much worth it for the beefy single-player modes and decent selection of multiplayer modes for when you want to shoot people that are right next to you or over the internet’s tubes.