Where next for rhythm action? We've already got guitars, drums, bongos, microphones and carpets with arrows on clogging up our front rooms. We've got dancing pointers on the DS. Even the PSP has a good rhythm action game. None of you bought it, but it does have one.
If anyone can figure it out, surely it's Bizarre Creations, the company whose last Xbox Live Arcade game was so good and so cheap that it made all the other Xbox Live Arcade games look like overpriced derivative nonsense - including the ones that weren't overpriced derivative nonsense. Boom Boom Rocket, developed from an idea thought up at Electronic Arts, is their solution, promising to inherit the simplicity and obsession with high scores that made Geometry Wars so good.
This it has done. It's so basic that you can play it with one hand. As the camera circles around bulky skylines, fireworks with arrows on ascend toward a purple line that runs the length of the screen. When an arrow passes through the line, you press one of four corresponding buttons depending on the direction it's pointing. High scores are borne of better timing and the use of "bonus runs", time-limited multipliers that massively increase the points you get for each match. Like all the best rhythm action games, success is relatively easy to come by, but actual mastery requires practice, concentration, timing, and learning where best to target your bonus runs.
Boom Boom Rocket - Bizarre's first Xbox Live Arcade game since launch title Geometry Wars - is getting "close to launch" according to community and web lead Ben Ward.
The game's up on Xbox 360's "Partnernet" service - which we get told off for mentioning every single time - allowing developers and the likes of us to play it. "As you can no doubt guess, this means we're close to launch," says Ward.
To celebrate, Bizarre has thrown up the first images of the game's "Bonus Run" mode. As you know by now (or else), BBR involves timing button presses to match explosions of fireworks to the sound of music, and when you build up a big enough streak of successes you can activate a Bonus Run. We hadn't seen one before. Now we have. Good work, Internet.