By Henry Badilla / July 24th, 2017
|Title||Super Rocket Shootout|
|Developer||Oddly Shaped Pixels|
|Release Date||July 14, 2017|
Fighting games have always been this impenetrable wall to some. Complex combos, frame perfect guards, even the quarter circle motion can be difficult for many. Until Super Smash Bros. came along with a mix of platforming, fighting game and party game elements and created a game that many could play (while segmenting the fighting games community).
After years of being the only one of its kind, a couple of games have popped up recently taking Super Smash Bros. as its inspiration. This time we’ll be talking about Super Rocket Shootout, a game that takes an arena battle of up to four people and mixes it with jetpacks, shotguns and a group of thieves trying to make some money.
The game starts with Good Twin, a member of a group of thieves, narrating how everything went bad on their last heist and how that leads them to their most unique adventure. As you can expect the story is basically an excuse to trigger the next battle, and while it’s nothing to write home about, it’s short and it’s better than a simple arcade mode where we fight for no reason.
I’ve been calling Super Rocket Shootout a fighting game but it’s a lot simpler. Combat takes place in an enclosed arena with different platforms and terrain hazards on a couple of them. Our characters can move, jump, and while the jump button is held we can hover through the air. With the “X” button we can attack with our shotgun, which has a small delay between attacks, and while close to an enemy this changes to a punch. “B” deploys a shield which can withstand up to 3 attacks. And finally, the items we find on the stage are used with the “Y” button.
The only way to win is to defeat all our enemies, and you lose if your life drops to zero or if you fall off the stage (but this only happens in a couple of stages). Items appear randomly on the stages and deal massive damage. While there are just a few of them, they cover all the basic functions, including healing our character.
There are three game modes. Story, in which we follow the narrative while fighting all the characters. The way it works is that at the end of the game we have used each character at least once, but since there are only eight characters, including the final boss, it means that there are only seven fights. However, the game mixes them up by having team battles and 3 vs 1 fights. Arcade Mode works as expected. Pick a character and fight the other seven in a random order 1 vs 1. Lastly, Shootout mode is the quick play mode of the game. You select the conditions for the fight and can play with either CPU controlled enemies or Human opponents, but only locally.
From a technical point of view, there is nothing wrong with the game. Combat works as you expect it to, the controllers are responsive and while I ran into a bug that caused my character not to die due to a teleporter on that stage, it was nothing game breaking. However, the game is short and hard. It took me around 90 minutes to finish the story mode because some fights can be brutal due to the AI. I imagine it works similar to Street Fighter 2 where the enemy reacts based on which button you press, so on 1 vs 1 combats the CPU can, and will, block almost all your attacks perfectly. Also, it feels that they always know which items will drop, since they will escape combat to go for the Box with the health items.
After you finish the Story mode, you will have unlocked all stages and characters, so the only thing left to do is to play the arcade, or hunt achievements which consist of doing certain actions hundreds of times or playing multiplayer, but for both you have to love the gameplay, and I can’t say that I do.
Moving to the graphics department, we have a very simplistic pixel art style. I personally liked the graphics quite a bit. Usually Indie games try to copy SNES games’ style, however this time the sprites are original, and while the character designs are simple, it works with the simple concept of the game. Backgrounds are full of detail and everything looks good in motion. Following along with the retro aesthetics, the game uses chiptunes for the music. All the songs are cheerful and a bit catchy, but basically they manage to work as a nice background that usually gets muffled by the sound of shots and explosions of the combat.
Super Rocket Shootout is a game that I feel is really well made and very detailed, and you can feel the passion that went into making it. Unfortunately, for such a short game it’s difficult for me to recommend it. It’s currently at $9.99 on Steam which is a good price, but not enough for around 2 hours of gameplay, ignoring the multiplayer part of it. This is a game that, with more content, would have been really fun and engaging, but for now, it feels more like a demo or trial. I’m hoping that if we ever get a sequel it’s the full game that it could have been.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
2D Fighting Gamearena brawlerOddly Shaped PixelsSteamsuper rocket shootout