Thanks to Bitten Toast Games for the review code
Title: Rocket Fist
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 08/10/2017
When it comes to the visuals, the design of the stages themselves are pretty basic, just being different colored enclosed arenas that all have an industrial look to them. The enemies are as generic as you can get, (I swear that one of the robots looks like a purple tissue box) and the music isn’t that great either. (being pretty difficult to describe, mostly due to how forgettable it is, sounding like something I could throw together in a music program) The overall presentation isn’t really bad, just run of the mill, and it works OK for the type of game we have here.
From the main menu, there are two main modes available to choose from: A single player campaign, and a multiplayer mode with different options. Starting with the single player, Rocket Fist’s campaign takes you throughout several different sectors, where the main objective is to knock out all the opposing robots with the titular Rocket Fist, scattered around every stage. The single player campaign uses the same control scheme as the multiplayer, which means this can be a great way to practice the mechanics before a local multiplayer match. (No online in this game sadly, but more on that later) Movement is done with the left or right analog sticks, and the B button either dashes you forward (allowing you to dodge or stun enemies) or fires the Rocket Fist that you pick up. Simply hit the enemy robots to destroy them, and once all the waves are defeated chutes to the next stage open up. Rinse and repeat until you reach a boss stage where bigger enemies that take multiple hits challenge you to battle, and you have the main story mode.
While the single player move does lead to a nice (yet short) adventure, there is one apparent flaw that I could notice right off the bat, and it applies to the Local Multiplayer as well. Every single time I launched the rocket fist and it struck an enemy, there would be this very brief pause that would stop as soon as it began. It was a blink and you miss it situation, but it became really annoying during certain single player levels with multiple waves of enemies, or multiplayer matches with at least three players, since if I struck two enemies in a row the pausing felt like a super short stutter of sorts. I know this is intentional as when you defeat the last enemy in a stage/multiplayer match, it slows down and zooms in on them for dramatic effect, which works fine when the game’s over… But not when the game’s supposed to be moving along at a fast rate, and for the single player missions, these super quick pauses are just annoying and unnecessary.
For the Local Multiplayer, there are two simple modes available: Deathmatch, where it’s a race to see how many kills you can rack up, and Survival, where you fight to be the last one standing. These are very basic and barebones modes, and outside of the small selection of arenas to choose from, (each with different layouts that can lead to the rocket fist being less or more difficult to aim properly, since some walls will just have it bounce around at an angle) there’s no point in playing this mode with the bots, which means that playing with a real life friend is the way to go.
Thankfully, I did have two friends available on a rainy day, and we all had a blast playing through the different arenas, constantly beating the crap out of each other, so the game feels like a really strong title for the switch’s portability, as you could take it out to a party or bowling alley and quickly set up a two player game within a minute. It’s just a shame there isn’t much depth to the actual game, as while there are powerups exclusive to this mode to help players out, they don’t really last long nor are they that impressive. You also get knocked out to the sidelines if you’re playing with more than two players in these modes, which does allow you to interfere with the other players, but all you can do in this state is fire a slow moving shock ball that stuns them in place for a few seconds, which usually ends up being a worthless move.
Honestly, considering how much fun I had with my local buddies, I really wish that the online multiplayer mode from the PC version was included in this port, as I feel it could really add to the replay value. Of course, with the Switch’s abysmal Wi-Fi chip, maybe it’s for the better that online wasn’t added, considering how it would be extra work for something that may or may not work well, and the fact that the Switch being a handheld leads to the local multiplayer being easier to pull off than other systems thanks to the split joycons.
In conclusion, Rocket Fist is a decent single player adventure, with not a lot of depth to it and only a small handful of worlds to travel through. There are multiple difficulties for the campaign in an attempt to add replay value, but once you beat the main game on any of them there’s little reason to go back to it. That’s where the local multiplayer comes in, as when Rocket Fist is played with friends, it can lead to an intense night filled with close calls, lots of chaos and tons and tons of punched robots! It’s fairly basic in the end, but if you’re looking for a good Local Multiplayer game for a group of friends, then Rocket Fist isn’t a bad choice. Considering the current price tag, however it’s best to only buy this game if you have friends over on a frequent basis, since the single player mode isn’t really meaty enough to warrant the pricetag. If the game had a better variety of things to do in the local multiplayer, and didn’t do an annoying pause whenever someone gets struck by the fist, this could have been up there with Super Bomberman R as one of the best party games on the Switch, but as it stands right now, this is an intense game that’s really only fun with friends only, and is a bore if you’re going solo. I give Rocket Fist a 7 out of 10, and recommend it to Switch owners wanting a fun local multiplayer game to play in Tabletop mode.