I always approach a port from a home console title to mobiles with a certain air of excitement and fear, born from ploughing the Java mobile field over the years.
Despite my experience on mobile platforms, there’s still part of me that hopes that I’ll be getting a genuinely identical version to what I’ve played before on home consoles, even when it’s obviously not going to be the case.
Rocket Riot is a title that comes straight from the Xbox Live Arcade service to Windows Phone 7, and does so with apparently very little cut or omitted despite the step down in power between machines.Avast!
The aim of Rocket Riot is to hunt a jetpack-packing, rocket-launching two-dimensional pirate called Blockbeard by destroying a certain number of villains, objects, or boss character across a series of bizarre locations, from haunted houses to inside a computer.
The locales in which your chosen pocket rocketeer hurtles around in are designed as little individual blocks that shatter and shower when blown apart with the rocket launcher, fired at varying velocity by sweeping your finger across the screen.
The aesthetic calls to mind the pixellated graphics of the late '80s home computers (a theme reinforced by the loading screen consisting of a tape screeching at you), but the quality of the graphics is very much based in the modern age of computing.
This is evident in neat little tricks like the pseudo-two-dimensional paper effect when your chosen character turns, for instance, or the sheer number of tiny little blocks that joyously explode out from a wall when shot.
Every block can be destroyed, so routes and paths through the arenas can be created by firing out rocket after rocket.
Impressively, even with the power-up that essentially triples the amount of debris from every blast, the WP7 handset handled the game without any drops in framerate.Power-down
The power-ups, in keeping with the feel of the game in general, are all a little crazy.
While there are standard(ish) ones like triple-shot and shield, they’re joined by ones that, for example, change your rockets into random objects, like basketballs or globes.
There are also ones that are deliberately bad, replacing your rockets with a ‘BANG!’ flag for 30 secs, which seems like a poorly judged punishment for a single-player focused game, considering that it just results in nothing much happening.
But therein lies the rub – it isn’t entirely a single-player focused game, or, at least, the original wasn’t. That was also a manic, fast-paced multiplayer party title - a real-time, flying, Worms on speed (as it were).
While it’s not always significant when a feature gets lost in translation, half of the fun of Rocket Riot was having other people all manically firing at you. The depth just isn’t there when played solely with the restrained bots of the WP7 version, who seem incapable of firing at your character unless you’re literally on top of them.
WP7 gamers still get most of the original Xbox Live Arcade game intact, the graphics and presentation being especially smashing on the smaller screen, but they’ll be left feeling that there’s something missing.