Rocket Riot

Rocket Riot

Rocket Riot

It is rocket science.

Rocket Riot presents you with a thick sheaf of colourful, pixel-art worlds and one single proviso: that you reduce them all to glittering tatters. A gleefully simple 2D arena shooter, the central appeal of Codeglue's quirky game is the real estate - each wayward shot tears a blocky chunk out of the surroundings before, following a polite pause, the engine obligingly pieces everything back together before your eyes. Not that you'll still be looking at it, mind you, because, for those occasions when you want something trickier to shoot at, the designers have laid on clouds of buzzing enemies, each a study in caricatured weirdness capable of putting a shoulder-mounted Exocet through your wishbone.

This is the anti-Braid, in other words: a speedy, lovingly air-headed shooting gallery, which tells its story in a broad sweep of pirates, UFOs and mad scientists rather than melancholy wisps of poetry, and has you reordering space instead of time - generally with the aid of a bazooka. The generous parade of 8-bit worlds, variously depicting laboratories, spooky castles, and even the innards of a computer, is far from an exercise in simple nostalgia.

Easy to tear down and itching to rebuild themselves again, the game's pixellated arenas quickly turn into tricksy battlegrounds where your gun is a trowel and the entire layout becomes an unreliable ally. You can tunnel in deep to let your health recharge, but there's every chance an enemy will burrow down to find you, or you can drill yourself a quick escape route for when the going gets tough, but you musn't leave it too long, or it's likely to have closed itself up again before you get to use it. There's no camping in Rocket Riot's universe, no fixed geometry to slow the mayhem down or stop it in its tracks, and the end result is a game where even an innocent blink can be deadly. A bit like that Doctor Who episode.

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