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Boy, the guys at Bizarre Creations sure do know a thing or two about crafting flashy, addictive casual games, huh? While the company is best known as the developer of the stellar Project Gotham Racing series, we’d be willing to bet that more people have played their “other” title, a little game called Geometry Wars. Although it could be unlocked in PGR3, the game was still one of the most downloaded Xbox Live Arcade titles, developing a rabid following of fans. Now the Liverpool-based team is hard at work on their follow-up, which will be published by Electronic Arts and should be hitting XBLA sometime this spring.
Boom Boom Rocket is a rhythm game that tasks players with setting off fireworks in time to the beat of a song. Like so many rhythm games before it (most notably Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero), you’ll have to hit your cues at the right time to earn points. The fireworks will move upward from the bottom of the screen, and each of them will be colored to correspond with one of the four face buttons. All you’ve got to do is hit that button just as the cue hits the line near the top of the screen, at which point your performance will be rated and you’ll earn some points.
Sounds pretty simple, huh? At first glance, the gameplay looks fairly straightforward, but there are a number of elements that will force you to strategize a bit. When the action kicks off, the points you score will only be multiplied by one, but the more you score the higher your multiplier becomes. This is reflected in the gauge on the top of the screen, and you’ll notice it start to sparkle once you fill it up for the fourth time (the gauge also acts as a life bar of sorts, since the game ends once it is empty). At that point, you can hit one of the triggers to enter the bonus mode, during which any points you score will be multiplied by sixteen. However, it pays to think before you enter the bonus mode, as it’ll run out quickly, particularly if there’s a lull in the music.
Boom Boom Rocket features some very interesting musical selections, each of which is based on a famous classical tune. They’ve all been remixed with a hip techno beat, but you’ll likely instantly recognize many of them. This makes playing the game quite a bit easier, and the game’s producer said that they wanted to make it accessible to just about anyone. The titles have been changed a bit, too, sporting names like “1812 Overdrive,” “Hall of the Mountain Dude,” and “Rave New World.” Alas, you won’t be able to add your own tunes, but there will be some downloadable content available sometime after the game is released.
In addition to the straight-up single player mode, there are quite a few other gametypes to keep you busy. Endurance finds the same song playing over and over, and you’ve got to complete the requisite number of “laps” in order to survive. Naturally, the music speeds up from one lap to the next, so you’ll be furiously hitting buttons by the end. There are also a few head-to-head multiplayer games which are a lot of fun, although we were a bit saddened to hear that they won’t be playable over Xbox Live. The game will also ship with a visualizer of some sort, as well as a mode that allows anyone to just hit buttons and set off as many fireworks as they want. Perfect for the kiddies!
We had a great time playing Boom Boom Rocket, even on the hardest difficulty level (trust me, it’s frustratingly tough). The game adeptly combines beautiful visuals, interesting music, and accessible gameplay to create one of the year’s most intriguing Xbox Live Arcade titles. It’s a blast to play with friends, and the fact that they’ve included a number of cool extras helps to make it one game you won’t want to miss. We’ll be bringing you more information on Boom Boom Rocket in the coming months!
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