Party games have become more and more scarce over the years. A little over a decade ago, back in the days of the Nintendo 64, party games were almost the norm. There were local multiplayer, whether co-op or not, but if you grew up in the 90's and early 2000's you could plan your weekend around going to your friend's house, maybe bring your own controller and play party games like Mario Kart or Starfox.
Eight now the party games are all but gone, but they are not yet extinct. We still have great party games like Lovers in a strange space-time and Overcooked, not to mention the always awesome Smash Bros. While these are not the only party games out there, they're the most memorable ones that I can think of right now. To join that list arrives Rocket Wars by Archon Interactive, an indie developer based in Denmark.
Archon Interactive is an indie developer that consists of barely two guys, so everything that this game is was created by just two people.
You can buy Rocket Wars on Steam for $7.99
There isn't much of a story in Rocket Wars, being a party game, it pretty much just asks you to choose a game mode and to start playing. The only thing that comes close to a story is when you start unlocking more ships, they have a brief description that somehow gives you some sort of context. The text is something like "this ship resembles the early plane designs of earth from back in the 2'th century" and so on. Is not a Story per se, but is nice to see the developers at least tried to give som sense of in-game context.
Given that there was no story, I will expand a little on the gameplay section, going through the separate game modes that the game offers. In general terms, the game consists of a space battle. This battle can be fought between 2, 3 or 4 ships. In all game types, you can choose to either play with friends or bots or a combination of both. The battleground is in the gravity field of a sun that is in the middle. You can fly away from the centre but you'll be eventually pulled back in.
This a pretty simple one. You choose a ship and get ready to fight in an every man for himself game. You can play with up to three other friends or play alone with up to three bots.
Last man standing wins. All players start the game with 5 lives, and whoever remains alive afterwards is the winner
Nuke King is a very fun game mode in Rocket Wars. You pretty much make points and whoever has the most points (which means: whoever draws first blood) gets to be Nuke King. At this point, the game is pretty much a King of the Hill. This, in Rocket Wars, means that your ship gets huge and much more powerful. Now the objective of the rest of the players is to destroy the Nuke King to become it themselves and the Nuke King must remain in that state for as long as possible. Whoever was Nuke King the longest by the end of the game, wins.
Team Deathmatch is a battle to destroy the opponents, but, obviously, teams are formed. Teams can be 2 vs 2 or 2 VS 1. Now, when you are part of a team in Rocket Wars you will be "linked" to your teammate and now, in addition to the gravity force of the sun you are fighting around, your teammate will keep you from going too far away from him. You must play together and be communicative to make a difference.
Same game as regular survive. You each have 5 lives, but if your team manages to destroy one of the members of the opposing team first, then you'll have a 2 VS 1 advantage.
Team Nuke King
Again, Nuke King steals the show. In Team Nuke King, you win by being the Nuke King the most time or by being in the team of whoever was Nuke King the longest. If your teammate becomes Nuke King, your task is to protect him or her. This particular mode gets crazy fun.
This is the perfect mode to train. You'll get an unlimited amount of time and lives to do whatever mayhem you need to do, and it was in this game mode that I finally got better. After having played all game modes and this one at the very end, I must say this is the most educational one.
All ships have a basic attack, which doesn´t have a limit of rounds whatsoever, these are infinite. During the battle, powerups will appear in random places. These powerups go from laser cannons to circular saw blades and a nuke that will destroy all other players, among others.
- While you are playing, there's a log that keeps track of what's happening. It will display things like "Green destroyed Blue" and so on. Although it may seem a little distracting at first, it is actually a pretty useful tool because sometimes you can get lost in all that's happening on the screen, so it's good to have something letting you know what just happened.
- Physics matter. In this game, you can choose to use your thruster or get carried away by the gravitational energy of the sun, which you can´t touch without suffering damage. But you need to keep in mind that physics is important in this game. I once used a powerup that was basically a shotgun and when I fired it I wasn´t thrusting and the recoil pushed me straight to the sun and I died. The log then showed "Blue needs an adult". I can't say it didn't sting.
- There is also a "pulse" that can be used from time to time. This is basically a temporary shield, but mastering its use can take a while.
Graphics and audio
The graphics of this game are quite simple. The ships are designed more like cardboard cut-outs than actual ships you might see in other games. There aren't many battlegrounds, in fact, there's only one and that can get repetitive but the color palette during the actual battle is well defined. When it comes to graphics, the only comment I would need to make is that sometimes you can get lost in all that is happening on the screen and you might not know what's going on for a second. In other words: it can get a bit saturated.
The audio is spot-on. The sound effects are adequate and the soundtrack is amazingly fitting. Is an electronic upbeat tune that might seem repetitive but it blends so well with the game that you are not actually listening to it, but you know is there. The soundtrack choice was a score.
The game delivers. It aims to be a party game and that is exactly what it can be used for more adequately, I started playing all the modes on my own with bots and at first, I wasn't liking it because I couldn't get used to the controllers. The game recommends you play with a controller, but I don't have a working Xbox controller and I tried to play with my USB controller and it didn't recognise it. So I played with the keyboard, at first it was confusing but it only took me about 3 games to get the hang of it and start enjoying the game. I had a friend over to try it and it is so much better when playing with somebody else. (Although I did have him bring his Xbox controllers). It is best played with a controller but it can be played perfectly fine with the keyboard.
I would like to point out that this game offers only local multiplayer and it's always a battle-basis game. There is no co-op option to fight against a bigger enemy or anything like that, other than playing with the bots. In addition to this, you'll get all 12 available ships pretty quick.
All in all, I think I might have found a new party game for the upcoming holidays.
|+ Fun, competitive party game||– Lack of online multiplayer|
|+ Awesome soundtrack||– The game is "beaten" fast. (Only 12 ships and skins to unlock)|
|+ Capable, competitive AI|
|+ Variety of ships with different attributes|