A Day In the Life of Rocaman

Review of Adventures of Rocaman on XBLIG: Try
A standard platformer, Adventures of Rocaman doesn’t offer anything new to the genre but can be an enjoyable short experience.

I must confess, I didn’t plan to review Adventures of Rocaman.  When I went to download the trial on xbox.com and I clicked the wrong link and bought the game by mistake.  I should really read things before clicking OK.  When I sat down to play the game, I completed the game in my first attempt.  I’m not bragging about my platforming skills, I’m pretty average.  Rocaman is an easy game to complete, and since I completed it I felt I should write up the review.

Everything in Rocaman feels pulled from the Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros.  There are coins to collect, turtles to jump on, fire powerups to grab, and Bullet Bill like dragons to avoid.  One level reminded me so much of a Mario castle I was disappointed there wasn’t a bridge with Bowser at the end.  That Rocaman borrows from Mario isn’t a bad thing.  The game plays and controls as I expect and I don’t feel I need to learn a new system to play Rocaman.

The music and graphics in Rocaman are 8-bit styled and each level has its own theme, but I found them forgettable.  The graphics miss the retro mark just a little and in some places appear disjointed.  Animations don’t line up with actions and Rocaman sometimes appears to walk when he jumps and jumping when he walks.  This issue with animations becomes a minor annoyance with the final boss. The last boss requires a bit of timing and I had to jump when it appeared to be too early, but in reality it was how to win the fight.

Though the animations were off, the game controls were spot on.  Many times I feel indie developers do not properly implement  jumping in a platformer.   The common cause is calculating where the player is by one point, normally the middle of the player sprite.  This makes jumping off of the back foot of the character impossible, as the game thinks the player has already fallen off the platform.  Rocaman didn’t have this problem.

As I said at the start, I played this game straight through in my first attempt.  The controls are solid but the level design is basic and monsters pose no threat.  The game is very short, taking no more than 30 minutes at most.

Adventures of Rocaman is a Try.  While the game is simple and short, it does play well and I cannot say I was bored, even if I was not challenged.  Hardcore platformer fans will want to skip this title, but casual and younger players might enjoy the simpler gameplay.

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