What happens when four armed robbers just can’t seem to get along with each other? They whip out their shotguns, fire up their jetpacks, and have a good old arena shootout of course!
Super Rocket Shootout is a 2D pixelated blaster brawler where up to four players can settle scores using the choice of eight trigger-happy characters. Your basic actions simply consist of firing your weapon, punching rivals, and double jumping into an airborne state. Your defensive option revolves around a Super Smash Bros. style bubble guard that slows you down when active, and, finally, your special attack is used when collecting scattered weapons such as dynamite and sticky bombs to gain that extra edge in battle.
All characters in the roster pretty much have the same tools to fight with, although each one does possess their own stat based advantage – measured by speed, damage, range, and melee attacks. The twin criminals (one evil, the other good apparently) who act like Super Rocket Shootout’s Ryu and Ken are both balanced to level out those even one-on-one duels. The stocky Mexican wrestler El Bruto has a shorter firing range but can send home an up-close and heavy crack to the face. And Prof. Fox, on the other hand, is the more nimble out of the roster but does punch with a fist made from pillows.
There is, of course, a bit more to the gunplay than the four basic inputs and stat advantages. The more “advanced” techniques are all taught to you in the unavoidable but short tutorial section. It’s these extra little mechanics that do deepen the gameplay, even if it is only slightly. Take your bubble shield for example, your main defensive tool that will protect you from a single shot before it breaks. However, time your guard button right and you will gain a stock of meter that can come in handy for multiple purposes. These meter eating abilities can allow you to send off a damaging shockwave on a perfect counter, or fire off a string of gunshots to deal some quick damage. If you happen to max out your meter, you have the opportunity to unleash a character specific super attack or an ability that can give you the upper hand in the midst of the madness.
Super Rocket Shootout is a great little time killer amongst friends with some pretty tense moments when your health is hanging by a string. The simple gameplay mechanics give you everything you need to just dive in and perform some crowd-pleasing shots. Just grabbing dynamite or a grenade out of a smashed crate and launching it perfectly at someone’s kite always deserves both an applause and a giggle. It’s one of those games where one minute you’re the mouse, desperately rummaging for heath with El Bruto on your back, the next you’re in a David and Goliath moment after a few well-timed bangs with the boomstick.
The eight stages cater well to the combat, most being wide open arenas filled with multiple level platforms. They’re all diverse enough to look at and play on with plenty of interactivity and a decent amount of variety for a quick fix game such as this. Visually, the pixel art is on the lower end of the budget, but it all caters well enough to look entertaining at least. It can chug at times when playing with four players though, which is a shame because it is a title that’s undoubtedly better when there’s more the merrier.
Even though Super Rocket Shootout does attempt to provide some single player content, the overall result is a very shallow experience. The Story Mode that you are forced to play to unlock most of the content is pretty much as good as you’re going to get. The story itself bangs on about four criminals who bicker all the time and eventually find themselves fighting to save the world. It’s a decent way to introduce each character into the game, but it will only take about 20 minutes to beat. To be fair, that is about as long as I really wanted it to be. After all, you can only give so many reasons to set up another scrap. There is a fighting game-style Arcade Mode that you can go through, but in all honesty, with no online multiplayer available it’s a very dry experience if you don’t have friends to share the fun with.
If you don’t happen to be a billy no mates, then Super Rocket Shootout is a buzz to play in small bursts. It’s the sort of game you will itch to stick on for 10 minutes when you have enough friends over to fill the slots. It may be light on single player content, but it’s a game that’s simple enough to get to grips with, fun enough to have a laugh with, and cheap enough to buy for these sort of occasions. Just remember to beat the Story Mode first. Overwise you will be very limited on your gameplay options.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Oddly Shaped Pixels