Day 249: Avatar Rockets

Posted: 2011/07/16 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #249, and today’s game is “Avatar Rockets”.

Apologies for the poor audio quality of the video, but it was the best I could find available. The game sounds *much* better in person, download the trial to see what I mean.

I’ve purchased almost no games with “Avatar” in the title (this is only the second or third, depending on whether you feel “AvaGlide” counts, and I own over 250 XBLIGs). Avatar Rockets made the cut in part because the avatar integration is not in your face, and in part because it does something interesting with a genre I enjoy. I’m not sure if that genre even has a name, but this is a game where you’re trying to reach ever higher. I first discovered this kind of game with the 2008 release of XBLIG “Machiavelli’s Ascent” (though I didn’t buy the game until I began this project, way back on Day 4), and then revisited it on Day 243 with “Niji”. Avatar Rockets takes this kind of game in a somewhat different direction and adds some features the others lack, making for a compelling 80 Microsoft Point purchase.

First, from the developer (SniperED007):

“Avatar Rockets is one of the few xbox 360 indie games that has full xbox live and Avatar support. Compete against your friends in 3 exciting multiplayer modes or take on the world with the global scoreboard in the single player game. Design your own space shuttle in the Rocket Paint feature and take your Avatar to the stars and beyond.”

Like Machiavelli’s Ascent and Niji, the goal is to constantly climb up. However, here you’re in a rocket and have the ability to propel yourself. Whereas Machiavelli’s played out like a platformer, with the slightest misstep dropping you back to the beginning, Avatar Rockets is a bit more forgiving since you can thrust when necessary. Instead of needing to reach key points to keep going, now you must keep collecting fuel as you climb to maintain your ascent. Just when you think you’ve got a hang of it, the game throws an unexpected spanner in the works: space monkeys and opposing astronauts that reverse your controls on contact, which sounds difficult and is perhaps even more difficult than it sounds.

The game boasts not only online scoreboards, but full Xbox Live play as well (including three modes of play). On top of the rocket paint schemes that the game comes with, it has a paint mode that lets you design your own patters. The graphics have a folksy feel that isn’t for everyone, but the feature set is decent for a game in what is normally a pretty bare-bones genre. One nice point for the presentation, look closely enough and you’ll see a miniscule depiction of your avatar flying the rocket through the porthole near the nose of the craft.

Someone out there is going (you passed over Avatar Legends for *this*?!), but this game has the simple pick-up-and-play nature, combined with nice presentation and a feature set that makes it not wear out its welcome too quickly. This is another hidden gem that’s very, very easy to get your 80 Microsoft Points worth of fun out of.

Click here to download “Avatar Rockets”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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