Rocking Pilot (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 31.05.2017

Review for Rocking Pilot on PC

It doesn't take a mathematician to know that war equals ratings. WYNC, the TV station of the future, has started broadcasting "Global Conflict." Dictators all over the planet have declared war. Considering that they have enough bombs to wipe out all life, one has to wonder if anyone will be left to watch the next season. There's only one person who can take this show off the air. His name is "The Pilot" and he's a helicopter…pilot. He's locked and loaded, ready for action, and has watched every 80s action movie at least a dozen times.

Rocking Pilot is in most regards a standard twin-stick shooter. Enemies approach from all angles, sometimes firing bullets at the maniac pilot. Countering this endless stream of adversity is easy enough. All the player has to do is move the mouse cursor in their general direction, and hold down the fire button. Movement is handled via the arrow keys or WASD, which takes a little practice. Alternatively, it's possible to use an Xbox 360 gamepad. In either case, colliding with a bullet or an enemy vehicle is instant death.

There are a couple of features that help to make this helicopter unique. First off, its propeller rotors are actual blades. They're made of razor sharp futuranium, and will chop up practically anything that gets close. The copter also has an overdrive function. While the mouse button is held down, the vehicle is invincible. Naturally, this effect doesn't last for long at all. Overuse can lead to situations where the player becomes trapped.

The game is divided into 42 missions. These missions can have various requirements for completion, such as not firing the machineguns or rescuing a certain amount of survivors. They're not particularly difficult, especially for someone familiar with the genre. The serviceable controls and fast-paced action provide a fairly smooth and genuinely compelling bit of entertainment. It doesn't take long to adjust to whatever scenario is presented to the player. Destroyed enemies leave behind orbs, which add to the multiplier bonus, as well as the special weapon gauge. When enough orbs are collected, a power-up appears. These weapons have extremely limited ammo, so they won't last more than a few shots. Therefore, knowing when and where to fire can help in the most critical of situations.

Screenshot for Rocking Pilot on PC

There are also 16 score missions to partake in. The objective here is to get a high score, though its approach is different compared to what gamers are used to. Unlike the average arcade game, which resets the score to 0 whenever the player loses their last life, Rocking Pilot has milestones. Whenever the indicated score is achieved, the pilot will restart from that score. In other words, death only sends someone as far back as their last milestone. Attaining a high score worthy of the top leaderboard spot is more a war of attrition than anything. Skill and knowledge of the game's mechanics tends to take a backseat. It's a very unfortunate design decision.

Progressing through the game will lead to numerous in-game rewards, such as special weapon upgrades and new helicopter designs. It's a nice little addition, but it's not as involved as in similar games. To put it another way, it's impossible to come up with specialized or creative builds, ones catered to specific playstyles. All of the upgrades are universal, and won't make a dramatic difference in the midst of a mission. Still, it is rather amusing to unlock things, even if their usefulness is questionable.

The level and enemy designs are pretty varied. Sometimes the pilot will have to avoid trucks armed with nuclear warheads while rescuing survivors, use the helicopter's rotors to push poisonous gas away, or engage in a boss fight. These encounters help to keep the game fresh, for the couple of hours it takes to complete it. Unfortunately, the lack of replay value - due in part to the poor score missions - guarantees that this shooter won't stick around in one's library for long. There's also an overabundance of screen shake whenever anything occurs on-screen. It's an obnoxious feature that can't be disabled.

Screenshot for Rocking Pilot on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Rocking Pilot has the basics down, but it doesn't have much in the way of staying power. The potentially neat scoring system is held back by some baffling design decisions. The game never really has the chance to establish any sort of flow, due to control repeatedly being taken away from the player. Every minute there's another milestone reached or objective accomplished, and skills don't get nearly as tested as they should. Ultimately, this shmup, while fun, is a little too disjointed, shallow, and easy.




Mad Head Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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