Another excellent retro love-letter for those riding the current wave of nostalgia hitting the indie scene via the likes of Freedom Planet
or Shovel Knight
, Rex Rocket
takes the metroidvania formula we all know and love and layers it with an old-school charm that is impossible to resist.Rex Rocket
is the story of a lone space captain, left in the ruins of what was once a thriving and bustling space vessel transporting scores of important and renown scientists. What happened here to turn technology against its human creators? It's up to you to blast, explore and platform your way through the now overrun S.S. Montana in a fun and humorous throwback to the greatest period in gaming history with a few twists of its own.
The combat in Rex Rocket
is much flashier and faster paced than the classics we remember as you rush into different sectors of your doomed ship each more deadlier than the last, with guns blazing. The speed of your shots as well as the attacks of your oncoming foes is lightning-quick, and you'll take advantage of the extremely tight controls and employ ninja-like techniques such as wall-jumping or propelling yourself over gaps using your gun as a jetpack. The possibilities are endless to how each player will handle any given situation.
The game is a serious challenge, just enough to keep you focused and alert. I was already dying a couple times to the first boss but only due to my own lack of agility, as soon as I learned the patterns and was dodging every attack I had it down. You'll need to find every power-up item, utilize every weapon and technique, and apply the highest level of hand-eye coordination in order to surpass these very difficult battles. This is extremely reminiscent to how the bosses of the golden-era of gaming would beat you just hard enough to keep you coming back for another try with newfound strategies.
So many of the best ideas are drawn from the original Megaman
series, and they work just as well as ever. These are concepts that have withstood the test of time and remain solid after all these years. You'll encounter the electronic Appearing Blocks (also known as Buzzing Blocks) that fade in and out one after another from the iconic Magnetman stage of Megaman 3
, the hovering shield bots patrolling back and forth that you can only hit from behind, the classic pixel gates on either side of a boss fight bringing us back to those fateful moments in Wily's castle so many years ago. The level design and platforming elements are really where the game shines, and definitely have received a huge makeover since the late 80's titles that it draws inspiration from giving controls and combat that are much smoother and more precise. Rex Rocket
is less stiff feeling and way more action packed than similar legends of the past, making this much more than just a simple homage.
Exploration and progression in Rex Rocket is probably the most enjoyable in the metroidvania genre of games I've felt since probably the GBA Castlevania
s, with a huge array of rooms to get sidetracked on during your trek to the current objective. Taking detours into the more diabolical of rooms along your way is encouraged and extremely rewarding as well as satisfying as you'll come across plenty of game-changing items that add to your health, lives, overall ammo, and plenty of story tidbits in the form of Info Nodes to find. Defeating the challenging bosses earns you crucial upgrades and new weapons, leading you back through areas you previously thought impossible to traverse providing immensely satisfying exploration of the gigantic map.
Although the visuals follow a generally retro flavor the pixel art on the sprites have a detail and complexity to them that far surpasses their past counterparts. The backgrounds in Rex Rocket are amazingly pleasing on the eyes and have a serious level of depth to them with twisting pipes, rotating gears and pulse-emitting motherboards reaching back for multiple layers. The rhythmic movements of the setting around you is complimented perfectly by the outstanding chiptune soundtrack provided by musician Saskrotch which, just like the game, strikes that Megaman
style all too well specifically of the 1-3 era.Rex Rocket
isn't just a love-letter to the golden-era of games, it's a solid addition to any modern action gamers' library. If you're looking for that next retro-flavored hit of precise and fluid platforming action and metroidvania exploration, Rex Rocket
is your perfect combination of the best mechanics from the old and the new.