Rage quit. Two words that often incite laughter in gamers. A “rage quit” is when someone exits a game because they’re so angry or frustrated that they can’t go on. It’s often used as an insult when playing a multiplayer game and someone doesn’t feel like losing anymore. I did this multiple times in the course of playing Rex Rocket.
Rex Rocket is a two-dimensional sidescrolling action game. It plays similar to a Megaman, except you shoot up and down as well. You have your basic blaster that can eventually be charged, along with secondary weapons that can be swapped on the fly. There are also recharging grenades that explode and release a spray of projectiles, destroying certain blocks. As mentioned before, shooting downward serves multiple purposes. Not only can shooting downward damage enemies from above, but it is used to give your hero Rex an upward boost, or in the case of the rapid fire gun, a sort of glide. This allows for a variety of neat puzzles and allows for really complicated navigation in the environment.
The downside is that your boosts are used by holding down on your direction pad. This can be a HUGE problem when you are also trying to move left and right to avoid enemies and projectiles. Often times I was accidentally dropping straight down because I couldn’t maintain both my boost and my forward momentum. Throw in the fact that there is a seriously punishing knockback effect when you’re hit, and you have some supremely tough platforming. Ouch.
That’s not to say that Rex Rocket is a bad game. The basic combat is still fun, in spite of some platforming woes. Getting through a particularly tricky area IS satisfying, but the items you get just don’t seem worth the effort. After navigating tricky rooms across treacherous one-hit kill spikes, there are powerups that give you an additional bar on your health meter. I could see the meter grow larger, and yet seemed to die just as fast. Certain enemies move very erratically. This makes it hard to suss out a pattern and outsmart difficult sections, and instead turns them into frantic dashes for safety. Some may enjoy the complexity and intensity it delivers, but personally I found it very off-putting. On one boss battle, I died 20 consecutive times before getting to the continue screen, which requires you to restart the area. It’s tough. Or I’m terrible. I cannot stress both of these enough.
The graphics in Rex Rocket are slightly cutesy with a low-pixel count sprites giving it a very retro feel. It’s a very charming game. The dialogue is smartly written, and some of the NPC’s make references that will make you chuckle often. The music and sound effects are very enjoyable, and fit well in a genre packed with great soundtracks.
Rex Rocket is $9.99 on Steam, and if you’re a fan of 2D platforming and shooting, tough environmental puzzles, and goofy humor, give it a shot.
[+Cute] [+Clever, with funny dialogue] [+Your Rex can be a boy or a girl] [-Did I mention it’s really hard?]