It's hard to go wrong with building a game around big explosions, and adding music to the mix just makes it all the better. Boom Boom Rocket is about timing the explosive prettiness of fireworks to ten remixed, techno-fied classical music pieces, and the results are certainly pretty, but also a bit empty.
Basically, Boom Boom Rocket is DDR for the fingers. More specifically, DDR for the right thumb with the left hand just hanging out wondering if there's more to life than supporting its side of the controller. The fireworks fly to the line at the top of the screen, color-coded to go with the four face buttons on the controller. They've also got an arrow inside, making it easier for those who haven't memorized which particular button is blue, green, red, or yellow. The rockets will hit the line right on the beat of the song, so like all rhythm games it comes down to the icons on screen saying what to do, and the music saying when.
Boom Boom Rocket is a fun little diversion for as long as it lasts.
There are a few wrinkles in the gameplay beyond that, of course. The notes often come two at a time, and the hardest of the three difficulty levels throws them out in huge numbers. Learning to read the notes by color rather than arrow will help, but practice and memorization is the best way to nail a high score. Keeping the bonus multiplier topped off by not missing any notes is the other scoring key, especially if the multiplier meter empties it's game over. When the meter is completely full the Bonus Run is ready to roll, and it's here that the left hand finally gets something to do! With one pull of either trigger, the background goes liquid, and the firework display turns psychedelic as the 16x multiplier goes into play. The meter will deplete at a slow speed unless you miss a note, knocking a good chunk off the bonus time. Since the best way to use the meter is at the most complex part of the song, this adds a nice bit of risk/reward for those aiming for the top. There's only one bonus run per song, and blowing it isn't going to help your position on the leaderboard any.
In addition to the main mode, there are several extra modes using the exact same ten songs and three difficulty levels. The only one that's actually gameplay oriented, aside from the non-online multiplayer, is the Endurance Game, where the music keeps looping over and over, getting faster each time. The other modes are Practice, which is just what it sounds like, Freestyle, where you can play around with the fireworks without worrying about objectives, and Visualizer, which takes music off the hard drive or a CD, and sets a fireworks display to it.
It's not a bad little package as these things go, but in the end it feels like there should be more there. The nighttime cityscape the fireworks explode over is lovely, the explosive displays look great, there are lots of different fireworks to earn, and the game can be somewhat addictive. But Boom Boom Rocket is a game needing just a little more. A few extra songs would be nice, but the gameplay itself just isn't all it should be. It's a little too simple to be really satisfying, handily showing off why people don't tend to play DDR with a gamepad. Still, Boom Boom Rocket is a fun little diversion for as long as it lasts. If it could have only found that One More Thing it needed, then it would have been great.
Discuss this article in our forums