Little Rocket Girl ($1.00) starts out innocently enough. You have your typical dystopian science fiction, crossed with a simple steampunk aesthetic; one girl fighting out against her soulless robotic overlords. It’s a premise you can get behind, basic but with some charm, which is more than I can say for some other, rocket-themed endeavors.
20th Century Fox is gonna be so pissed.
The game is, at its core, a shooter. A self side-scrolling shooter with cavernous stages (plenty of vertical space here) that are split into sections, accessible as you complete various objectives. Nothing too taxing, mind you, as all of them involve shooting something; cameras, fuse boxes, weather balloons, etc. Basically, if it bleeds oil, sparks, flies, or has that creepy computer voice, it has to go.
But don’t worry— this little girl will be fine. It helps when you’re carrying a multi-faceted rocket that will simultaneously transport you from Dreadful Future A to Dreadful Future B and alternate between three different types of guns / cannons, capable of blasting a hole into any robotic obstacle. Of which there will be many. From jetpack-toting, knock-off terminators to flame-spewing defenses and Frankenstein-ed patchwork bosses, she’ll face plenty of automated assassins.
What isn’t fine, though, are the controls and the bizarre decision to needlessly complicate Rocket Girl’s flight. Rather than just having you control movement and focus on the combat, the game puts you in charge of thrust and speed as well. Both are touchy and hard to adapt to initially, and leads to you flying past your intended targets multiple times. Given the heavy action happening on-screen, and no checkpoint system, it’s the perfect recipe for not-fun. That’s a shame, as this is the same developer that did the decent-playing shooter Chained Wings.
As it sits, this game is in desperate need of a more intuitive control scheme. Even with the interesting premise and design considered, there nothing else here that can save Little Rocket Girl from a quick death. Today, my fellow humans, the Robots and the Empress win.