Game Review: Rocketeer HD
Developer: Wired Developments
Available Platforms: iPad
ESRB Rating: 4+
This is one of the more unique ideas for a puzzle game that I have seen. I’ve only come across a similar game once before on an educational website, and it was amazingly addictive so it’s good to see a version make a leap to the iPad
The object is simple, guide a little Rocketeer from point A to point B, what makes Rocketeer HD unique is rather than control your Rocketeer as he travels by tilting the iPad or pushing a button, all you do is control his launch trajectory. Do it right and you can use the planets gravitational pull to navigate to the goal. Do it wrong and you will disappear into the empty void that is space, or die in a fiery explosion as you collide with a planet.
This game requires you to think, and it’s a quite addictive. In order to keep the gameplay fresh, as soon as you master one set of obstacles new ones are introduced. The early levels have small planets which have a small effect on your Rocketeer’s path while in the later levels you have asteroid fields, planets that change size and even a turret that will shoot you if you stray into the wrong area. If you get really stuck there is even a hint system (although this has to be collected first) The learning curve is erratic at best, some levels take a few attempts others will take you hundreds. While there are new concepts added in as your progress it never feels like a consistent difficulty or a natural progression.
I also feel that having different planets is one level of difficulty, having these planets move increases the difficulty even more, but having your target and the obstacles move is a little ridiculous. What makes the levels even harder is there is no way of tracing previous attempts that you have made. All you get is a faint outline of the last launch. This means that you may have gotten the correct solution or very close to it, but unless you can visualise the many many attempts that you have made you will never be sure. There is an aspect of sheer randomness to the game, some levels I passed by skill, others by just dumb luck.
The hint system is a welcome addition, however these hints have to be earned firsts and you can only get them on certain levels so you never have one when you really need it.
It’s a novel idea, and there has obviously been a lot of thought and programming behind a game like this, but sadly in its current form I don’t think it has reached its true potential. If they fix these small issues I will be happy to play and even recommend it. Despite these flaws at £0.59 or $0.99 it is worth a go.