Rex Rocket Review: I’m a Rocket Man

August 7th, 2014 -

If there is one thing people love, it’s nostalgia. If there has been a trend in indie developed games over the past few years, it’s been using nostalgia to draw people in. While Rex Rocket may look mega, it’s so much more than that. You’ll hearken back to games like Metroid and the much newer Cave Story. But this game is something new, and it’s wonderful.

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The game starts off by getting you acquainted with the controls and the setting for the game: your ship. You’re the captain of the S.S. Montana (you can be Rexford or Rexanna), and you are responsible for transporting scientists to where they are needed. Just a routine day at the office. Say hi to all your fellow coworkers, get in touch with the Logic Analysis User Reactive Entity Network (LAUREN for short) that controls the entire ship, and… wait, what was that last one? Space, routine mission, AI in control of your ship… well, you can figure out where that’s going. Just in case you’ve never seen this trope before though, during cryo-sleep the Terra-Oozlings that you’re transporting magically break free and LAUREN goes haywire. Upon waking up you must traverse the now dark, ooze dripping ship to find your remaining crew as you go on a quest to get your ship back.

Rex has a few tricks up his sleeve, though not all of them are available at the beginning. Sure, you can wall jump and shoot down to increase your jump lengths, but you’ll be finding an assortment of new equipment including weapons, a jet pack, and some other goodies I don’t want to spoil – they’re rad though. There are various collectables (in addition to the weapons mentioned), some giving you extra story details if you care to read, others boosting your stats such as health. Being that this game has a jet pack, keycards, etc., you can look forward to a map and backtracking! Like any good 2D platformer involving a map, you’ll be teased with places or items that you can’t take part in until you have the right item or ability. So if you want to grab everything, make a note of where those places are – you’ll probably pass by them again without doing so, but 100% completion is only for the dedicated. The game will also be throwing puzzles at you, and as you get more skills, they become more intricate, requiring you to manage both enemies and environmental hazards while solving a puzzle to open up an area. It can be frustrating, but also very rewarding. When played right, your movements may leave you in awe, much like you may feel after completing Super Meat Boy. Of course that requires precision in playing, and I did not have that for the most part using a keyboard. I definitely recommend using a gamepad of your choosing for this – especially if you’re going for the less than 10 deaths achievement.

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And with any game that gets compared to greats like Mega Man, you have to look at the soundtrack. Half the appeal of old games to me were the killer soundtracks, and that hasn’t changed over the years, as I’ve collected many OSTs from my childhood. So how does Saskrotch fair with his score? Well, pretty damn good, if I may say that. Some of the beats are just down and dirty, like the boss intro. Can’t help but love that crunchy bass line. Then you get thrown into a song that’s as fast as a Sonic tune mixed with a bit of Mega Man, followed by a sweet fanfare right after. Honestly, if you like fast paced chiptunes from the likes of the NES or even the Genesis, you are going to love the hell out of this OST. Even if you don’t have the money to pick up the game or the soundtrack, I suggest checking it out on Saskrotch’s Bandcamp.

The game gets pretty much everything right. The controls are tight, the art is pleasing to look at, the difficulty is ridiculous as the game progresses, and the music fits perfectly. The only thing that I can see being off-putting is the difficulty to those that want something relaxing. This game is tense, no matter how you look at it – music, level design, amount of enemies and things that hurt you on the screen at any given time… You definitely need patience, twitchy fingers, and quick reflexes to play this, but it’s oh so worth it.

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BUY

Pros

  • Puzzles and Gadgets
  • Exploration
  • Breakneck Speed OST

Cons

  • Intimidating Difficulty

Rex Rocket was created and published by Castle Pixel, LLC  and is available on Steam for $10. The game released on Steam August 5, 2014, and was funded on Kickstarter May 26, 2013.

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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