Super Rock Blasters Review
Where Did I Put that Mad Catz Controller?
Remember growing up and inviting friends over to play video games? You’d all be huddled around the CRT tv, bathed in its hypnotic glow, passing controllers back-and-forth (only mildly disgusted at the handsweat mixed with pizza grease and residual human heat) as you took turns. Remember how much of a pain in the ass it was, too? It seemed like either no one had time to come over, or there would be someone left out. When you finally managed to get a group together, someone always had to cry about the game not being fair, then stomp on home. Their mom would call your mom…
Super Rock Blasters reminds me of that.
The game itself isn’t terrible. It’s an Asteroids meets Geometry Wars, arcade-style space shooter that’s fun…when I can find people who want to come over and play it with me. There’s some pretty solid AI that you can play against, but it makes the game dull. Especially if you run out of lives and have to sit and wait for the silent, slow-moving AI ships to finish the round. The controls are simple and solid, reminiscent of old-school, two-button controller schemes; the physics are just fluid and slippery enough to make matches challenging and over-the-top. There are also plenty of different arenas to keep matches fresh and interesting, for awhile anyway. I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that in the year of our lord, 2017, when literally every other company has embraced online play, there is a game which utterly rejects it.
I want to like this game more, I really do. But all of my friends either live in different states, different countries, or a several hour drive away. Only having local multiplayer isn’t going to jive well with Busy Adults With Many Important Things To Do. Super Rock Blasters practically begs to have an online multiplayer option. And for me, that’s really the only thing that holds it back.
I get what QuadraTron games was going for; that nostalgia of a Friday night after a long week at school, playing SNES or Sega with friends, snarfing pizza and quaffing so much Mountain Dew that you ascend to another plane of existence and touch the face of God. But when you’re in a stage of life where all your friends have jobs and families and just Adult Stuff going on in general, that childhood magic is easily lost. There are some things that should be left to the past.
It’s much easier to co-ordinate a one to two hour Skype and Steam playdate with my friends than figure out a weekend where no one has to work or has family plans. Playing against the AI, listening to the (pretty rad) techno sound track makes me miss my friends. I want to hear evil laughter when someone gets petty revenge for a stupid on-screen death, frantic yelling as you guide a ship out of an enemy’s line of fire. It makes me want to play with other people; something that is increasingly rare, given the tendency for online play to be toxic.
“It’s an[…] arcade-style space shooter that’s fun…when I can find people who want to come over and play it with me.”
For those of you with young children, younger siblings or other tiny family members, it could be a fun way to spend a few hours and a decent introduction to games. Perhaps this was QuadraTron Games’ intent? If so, I wish they had included an online mode anyway; even if there were parental controls which let you turn it on and off, allowing the adults have a few hours of stupid fun with their friends. Because if I’ve learned anything since graduating high school, it’s that adultolescence is a huge moneymaker.