Day 865: Rotor

Posted: 2013/03/24 in Indie Games

Though it’s not an indie game on everyone’s lips, I’ve heard a fair bit about “Rotor” over the years. What I’ve heard is that it’s very pretty, but that the controls are questionable, and there simply isn’t a lot of gameplay there. Well, I decided today was the day to form my own opinion, and I was surprised.

Firstly, the one thing everyone agrees with is that the game’s a looker. It looks stunning, with faux-rotoscoped 3D graphics, and the colour palettes are nicely customisable. But what about the rest of the game, you know, the contentious parts?

Well, I played and loved an old arcade game called Steel Talons. I played it in the arcade, then I played a portable version of it for the Atari Lynx. If you played that game for the Lynx, or one of many other helicopter simulators for a variety of systems over the years then you’ll probably be right at home controls-wise. If your idea of a helicopter simulator is Choplifter then you’re going to be a little lost at first, so don’t expect the 8 minute trial to be enough to figure this game out.

But what about the gameplay? Well, as a big fan of Project Gotham Racing I loved what’s on offer in “Rotor”. Like PGR, Rotor has individual challenges set around a big map. A bit more like Test Drive Unlimited than PGR, I suppose, in that you drive around a big open world looking for challenges, but when you find one they focus on flying fast with skill and accuracy in a way that reminded me a lot of Bizarre Creations’ magnus opus.

Some people loved the (mostly) solo challenges of games like PGR and NiGHTS, and if this is you then I recommend you consider this game strongly. If you can’t get excited at anything less than Daytona levels of racing opponents and find solo challenges bore you silly, then this is a great game but not your game.

So Steel Talons crossed with PGR? For 80 Microsoft Points? Sign me up. Just be prepared for a steep-ish learning curve on the controls if you’re not used to helicopter simulators.

Here’s what the developer (Pocket Starship) has to say about the game:

“Take control of a chopper, zipping amongst city buildings as you race to beat the clock. Earn more time by undertaking challenges, and get the highest score you can. View your game statistics, and improve your skill over time. Rotor features a fun, physics-based flying model, and original art design, with players able to dictate the colour palette to suit their own aesthetic preferences.”

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