Super Rocket Shootout Review

One-man development team Oddly Shaped Pixels’ debut game Super Rocket Shootout somehow effortlessly combines shotguns, jetpacks, bank heists, and cybernetic zombies into one crazy multiplayer brawler. It’s frantic, and it can be quite enjoyable when played with friends. But while this game boasts a lot of awesome ideas, it is unfortunately held back by a number of questionable design choices, ultimately resulting in a somewhat mediocre experience.

The gameplay is simple and easy to grasp. Two to four players are thrown onto a battlefield where they can freely fly about and are kitted out with shotguns and jetpacks. You have to deplete the health of all your opponents to win a round. First one to win a set number of rounds is the victor. You can build up a special meter to either deliver more powerful shotgun blasts, pull off a counterattack, or use your character’s unique special. You can also break boxes to grab helpful powerups and items to throw at your opponents, such as dynamite.

Battles become utterly chaotic as the screen is covered in explosions, lasers, and colorful effects. While it's a marvel to watch, it's a frustrating experience to play. Sometimes there was so much action, it was difficult for me to figure out what was even happening. When characters pull off specials, the action pauses for a couple seconds, covering the middle of the screen with an animation. In a game that relies so much on quick reflexes, this seems like such a bizarre idea, and it becomes even more of a hindrance when multiple characters pull off specials at once.

Stages range from being okay to incomprehensible. The Graveyard and the Laboratory are the worst, as the former spawns zombies and bats, and the latter has annoying teleporters and seemingly random lasers getting in your way. On the Graveyard stage, there were times when I spawned in-between two zombies at the very beginning of a round. Characters are tiny and tend to mesh with each other when close together, adding further difficulty to figuring out what’s even happening. Specials are unbalanced, with some characters having borderline useless abilities, while others can potentially kill opponents in one hit. Little issues like these just make for a complete mess when trying to play seriously.

The single player content doesn’t have much to offer. There’s a tutorial, which does a great job explaining the game’s mechanics. Upon completing the tutorial, you unlock Story Mode and Arcade Mode. The story is rather short, revolving around a team of four bickering bank robbers getting caught up in a scientific conspiracy involving cyborg zombies. There are only seven battles, and the cutscenes in-between are silly and serviceable enough. You can make some choices that’ll decide what a battle will be like, but nothing too major. The Arcade Mode also puts you through seven battles, fighting the other characters in one-on-one matches. These tend to be quite simple, as the chaos is significantly dwindled with less players on the field.

Whether you play Story or Arcade, you’ll unlock all the characters, stages, and throwable weapons in less than 30 minutes, and you’ll gain access to the Shootout and Custom modes, both of which are your basic bread-and-butter multiplayer battles. I was honestly a little confused why Custom was even included, as both allow you to set customized options such as the timer and friendly fire, but Custom also allows you to set what weapons and powerups will appear on the map. Why not just take out Custom entirely and put all this in Shootout? On top of this, why am I required to unlock all of this multiplayer content in the first place, especially when it only takes a few minutes to unlock it all? It’s not a big issue, but it feels weird and unnecessary.

The multiplayer is definitely Super Rocket Shootout’s saving throw. When playing with friends, it can be a silly experience on par with something like Bomberman. The chaos becomes a lot more bearable against human players. Unfortunately, there’s only local multiplayer, so unless you have some friends close by, this isn’t something you’ll get to experience. The AI can range from being overly-aggressive to outright stupid, so you never really get the sense that you’re fighting other players.

Super Rocket Shootout wants to be a good game, and it certainly has its moments. However, it’s held back by so many problems that kept me from fully enjoying it. Even for $10, it’s hard to recommend this game when you can spend a couple more dollars on Duck Game and have a similar experience with the addition of online multiplayer. Only get this game if you have friends to play local multiplayer with.

Hi, I'm James. I like to play video games and then scream at people's faces about them. I started getting into gaming around the PS1 and N64 days, and I've been addicted ever since.