Retro gaming meets modern tech in this glorious puzzle platfomer
Somewhere out in deep space, an old tinker lives with his home-made robot in a lighthouse. They keep each other company, play games, and look out on the stars. Then, one day, the lighthouse goes dark and all the stars vanish. Shocked, the brave little robot sets off to find the stars, return them to their rightful place, and restore power to the lighthouse.
As it turns out, the stars have been hidden in a number of floating mazes, which Robo negotiates using his thrusters. You tap the screen to boost, and tilt the iPhone left or right to steer him in that direction. The clever part is that each level exists in ‘2.5D’, and you can move into and out of the world, by swiping up or down. This literally adds another dimension to proceedings, as there are lots of pathways hidden out of sight.
You start from a specific point and have to work your way past the various traps and puzzles, locate as many stars as you can, and reach the checkered finish. Complete a level and you can attempt the next, but you unlock the next world only once you’ve collected enough stars.
There are three worlds to play through: Material World has patchwork walls, padded buttons and bouncy sponges. It also features sections filled with water, complete with floating bath ducks, and introduces a tense rising lava level later on!
Space Station, as you’d expect, is a metallic labyrinth of flowing electrical circuits, enemy robots and, er, spinning saw blades (what kind of space station is this?). It has switches to rotate chunks of the level, and warp platforms which transport you to otherwise inaccessible areas.
The Sugar Cube world is labeled ‘Coming Soon’, so we can’t comment much, but despite its saccharine title, we suspect it will be just as challenging as the first two. When it arrives, the game will have some 57 levels to complete, which should keep you busy for a good few days – especially if you’re playing for 100% star retrieval.
Old, new, borrowed…
Rocket Robo is an ingenious, polished, and lovingly crafted title, which feels like a throwback to the colorful 16-bit platformers of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis era. It’s proper old-school gaming, with rotating puzzles and chomping pistons, but the beautiful real-time lighting effects and 3D graphics also make it thoroughly modern. It breaks a few conventions, too, in that occasionally you’ll find yourself in open space as a way of reaching new areas. It’s surprisingly disconcerting the first time you get thrown out of the safety of the maze!
The levels are big enough to be challenging yet not so sprawling as to become a chore. However, we do wish there was at least one checkpoint on the larger stages, as replaying the beginning bit over and over rapidly becomes tiresome. Also, you have to complete each level in order, so if you’re stuck on one, you can’t progress until you’ve beaten it.
Size: 98.7 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Developer: Aaron McElligott