I love dual-stick shooters as much as the next person. They are insanely easy to pick-up-and-play, the action is fast-paced, and the games only last a few minutes at the most, so you won’t have to put aside a large chunk of your time to play it. And with Rock Blocker, that’s exactly what you get.
The graphics in this game are definitely vintage, and it reminds me of the latest dual-stick shooter that I reviewed a few weeks ago, DRM Death Ray Manta. It also has much more of a Geometry Wars than DRM did, and I think this is because Rock Blocker has more geometrical shapes (makes sense, right?). The game also has a fantastic soundtrack that is best heard through headphones, so get them out!
So what’s going on in Rock Blocker? You must take control of a square-shaped spaceship that must tackle an onslaught of aliens who are invading, as well as the asteroids that, somehow, “vowed” to support the invasion. Who knew asteroids could talk, think, or act like living objects — not me, that’s for sure.
There are two control schemes that are available to make your gaming experience easier. You can tilt your device to move the ship, and tap in the direction you want to shoot to fire. Or, the easier route (and less weird-looking in public) is to have two virtual joysticks on the screen. The one on the left is to move your ship, and the right one is for shooting. If you have played dual-stick shooters before, then you will know what to expect here.
There are multiple game modes in Rock Blocker, so that adds a nice bit of variety compared to other games in the genre. The single-player campaign is The Invaders, and there is even a co-op mode called “Best Together.”
The Invaders will pit you against multiple waves of enemies that you must clear out before moving on to the next. You earn points for each alien killed as well as destroyed asteroids. Make sure to grab the power-ups to upgrade your weapon for the round. Best Together will split the screen in half for two people to play on the same device, and you will team up to keep the invasion at bay. This mode is probably best on the iPad, rather than the iPhone.
If you play enough of the co-op, you can unlock three more game modes, which are available in the “Extra Levels” section. Everplay has promised more modes in future updates, so there is plenty to look forward to.
When the game ends, or when you collect credits during the game, you can spend them on upgrading your ship. The upgrades include Power, Rate of Fire, Velocity, Resistance, and Lucky. Each upgrade rank will cost more credits, so you will have a bit of grinding to do before you will be able to max everything out.
You can also start from a wave other than the first one, that is, if you reach them first. This is great if you find the beginning too slow, or not challenging enough — just increase the wave and you’ll start out with harder opposition.
Rock Blocker has Game Center support for leaderboards and there are achievements to obtain as well. So if you are the competitive type, then you can see how good you are at shooting up these bright, neon-colored aliens and preventing a full on invasion.
My only minor issue with the game is the fact that it is in portrait mode, for most of the game (on the iPhone). I would prefer it to be in landscape, as that would give me more space for navigating and shooting. But other than that, the game is just pure fun, and what dual-stick shooters are all about.
If you’re a fan of the genre, then I recommend picking up Rock Blocker in the App Store. It’s also free for a limited time for the launch, and then it will go back up to $0.99.