|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Climax Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In spite of these issues, the platforming gameplay is rewarding and fun, not to mention challenging. You'll get multiple lives and three continues, but once you're continues are used up, it's game over and you're brought back to the beginning of the story. This is likely going to cause frustration for some folks, but on my second playthrough, I found myself playing a lot more carefully, and as such, I actually enjoyed myself a whole lot more. The later platforming levels are jam packed with inspired ideas, and there's ample payoff for sticking with the game 'til the end.
There's a healthy dose of shoot'em-up levels sprinkled throughout the adventure as well. Not all of the segments are great; however, a couple of sections are comprised of impressive set pieces that make the experience feel like a big budget retail title.
Before you know it, though, the journey's over. Rocket Knight might be designed to be replayed multiple times, but it lacks a certain something that was calling me back. There are a couple of extra costumes to unlock (and if you're a long-time fan of Konami, you should have no trouble unlocking them from the start), and the leaderboards are a nice addition as well. When weighing the price tag against the gameplay, however, $15 seems a bit steep.
If nothing else, the game looks beautiful. There are a few areas that don't quite measure up to the rest of the game, but on the whole, Rocket Knight is one heck of an ambitious downloadable package. There are lots of fun little details hidden in each level, and most of the animations look really good. The framerate holds up fine, and the load times were relatively short.
The sound effects are crisp and vibrant, making the collection of gems a guilty pleasure. By itself, I enjoyed pretty much everything the soundtrack had to offer, yet I was still left wanting more. The game's themes make a good match for the setting of the story, but the music never really moves with the rhythm of gameplay.
We've waited a long time for Rocket Knight to make another appearance, and for the most part, the marsupial hero does us proud. The main platforming ideas hold up surprisingly well, and Climax Studio has done a bang-up job translating the Rocket Knight experience for the present day. A few unfortunate control issues crop up from time to time, and $15 is quite the premium for such a fleeting romp. Still, anyone who has been eagerly awaiting Sparkster's return should be satisfied with Konami's latest offering.
CCC Freelance Writer