At first glance, Rocky Rampage: Wreck ‘em Up looks a bit like Angry Birds, with the same kind of polished cartoony visuals and a gameplay mechanic that involves launching yourself bodily at your enemies.
But the comparison doesn’t hold for very long. Rocky Rampage has features in common with Angry Birds, and with Robot Unicorn Attack too, but at heart it’s an incremental game, where your progress through the campaign is almost entirely dependent on you earning gold and spending it on upgrades.
Let’s look at the action part first. The aim in each round of Rocky Rampage is to get as far as you can. The farther you go, the closer you get to that dastardly Empress Clipper.
Each round begins with you standing in front of a giant boar and above a power meter that swings rhymically back and forth. You need to tap the screen when the pointer is over the red section to get the most out of your launch.
Once airborne, you can stay aloft by tapping the screen to jump – but you only have so much jump juice (our term) in your tank. You refill your tank by squashing the enemy soldiers that are running along the ground or drifting above it using balloons. On a full tank you can only jump three times, so each jump is a precious commodity.
Just under the jump juice meter is your speed. When this drops to zero, your run is over. This can come about in two ways: either you roll to a halt through lack of momentum, or something stops you.
Your obstacles include the wooden towers that punctuate each level. You need to be going at a certain speed to penetrate these. If you’re not, you can still weaken them for next time – but you only weaken the wall of the level that you make contact with.
Next, there’s the giant goon at the end of each stage, who stands in front of the Empress with a big shield. You’ll need to hit this goon multiple times to bring him down.
Finally, there are the red demons that litter the levels after a short time. Smashing into these saps your speed dramatically, and it’s primarily because of these guys that you need to be parsimonious with your jumps. If you don’t have any juice in your tank when you meet a demon, you’re pretty much sunk.
Upgrades and Mounts
In each run you’ll earn gold to spend on upgrades. Everything goes up to 20, with the cost of an upgrade increasing exponentially as you work your way up. The attributes you can upgrade are:
- Launch Power. The more you upgrade, the harder the boar hits you in the bum.
- Aerodynamics. The more you upgrade, the less you’re affected by inertia.
- Max Speed. The more you upgrade, the faster you can go.
- Strength. The more you upgrade, the easier you find it to penetrate tower walls.
On top of these, you’ve also got mounts, which gradually become available as you work your way through the campaign.
- Boom Bird. Hangs in the air and explodes on contact, giving you a free airborne jump. If you’re lucky you’ll bounce from Boom Bird to Boom Bird from time to time, getting valuable meters under your belt with no effort. The more you upgrade, the bigger the explosion.
- Kangaroo. An awesome mount that takes three strides with you on its back. Crucially, you can massively increase the size of these strides by tapping the screen as the kangaroo touches the ground. If you pull off all three, you get an extra boost at the end of your kangaroo time. The more you upgrade, the bigger the jump.
- Golden Duck. A duck, golden, that gives you gold when you hit it. The more you upgrade, the more gold you get.
- Flying Skunk. A smelly mammal that rockets you into the air with a powerful green fart. The more you upgrade, the higher you fly and the bigger your speed boost.
There are more, but this is a beginners’ guide and it’ll be a long time before you see them, so we’ll leave this section there.
Gold, Gems, and Boosts
Rocky Rampage manages to hit the sweet spot between luck and skill, and the skill element can mislead you into thinking a particularly slick run will help you progress. It won’t, or at least not very much in the great scheme.
To make progress in Rocky Rampage, you need to buy upgrades, and for that you need gold. This comes to you in a variety of ways beyond just playing the campaign.
- Chests. You’ll get chests intermittently for logging in. These contain gold, gems, and boosts. You’ll also get chests in airdrops during play. You need to watch an ad to unlock them, which is well worth it because chests are absolutely brimming with goodies. You also sometimes get chests when leveling up.
- Missions. Each day you’ll have a mission to complete, made up of three quests, with gold and gems as your reward.
- Coin Gun. There’s a Coin Gun that you need to activate by watching a video. The first time you watch one it increases your gold haul per game attempt by 50%, then 100%, then 150%, then 200%. It only remains active for a limited time, however – unless you lay down real cash for a permanent 400% upgrade.
A brief word on gems. You can use these to buy three different boosters. Ms Poggy gives you an automatic maximum boost, Energy Drink gives you extra jump juice, and Dynamite gives you an extra kick of power when you run out of steam. They’re all pretty effective.
It costs 50 gems to buy ten Dynamites, to take one example, but you’ll also pick up these boosters in chests. It takes quite a while to accumulate 50 gems through normal gameplay, but you’ve got nothing else to spend them on so it’s worth buying boosters when you can.
Of course, you can buy bundles of coins and gems, or coins for gems, in the in-game shop for real money.
However you approach Rocky Rampage, our one piece of advice is to get gold any way you can (short of buying it with real money). If you have to watch a video, watch a video, because it’s only through upgrading your gear and your mounts that you’re going to get anywhere.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that skill, and maybe a bit of luck, is all you need. A single Aerodynamics upgrade will do more for you than a whole rainbow’s worth of luck, so keep the upgrades coming.