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Game Review: Chu Chu Rocket by iFone

October 9, 2006 in Mobile Phone Software

So I’ve been playing this, this…GAME for the past 20 minutes on my N80, and I simply cannot believe how ridiculously simple it is. It’s so simple that I am actually devoting an entire day’s entry to this freakin’ game. I’m very bitter.

Chu Chu Rocket for Symbian Phones

Chu Chu Rocket leaves the Dreamcast for more portable devices.

Chu Chu Rocket

Developed by iFone and published by SEGA, Chu Chu Rocket is one of those Japanese cult-following type of games known for being absurdly easy to learn yet deceivingly impossible at times.

The goal of the game is to get the Chu Chus (I think they’re supposed to be mice…) back to their rocket (hence the name) so they can blast off and leave behind crappy planet Earth.

However, there’s just one problem: Chu Chus aren’t very smart, so they just walk straight ahead unless they hit a wall or an arrow. And that’s where you come in. Each stage, you’re given a limited amount of arrow pieces that you can place almost anywhere on the floor. If a Chu Chu runs over one of these pieces, it will start moving in that direction. You can see where this is going. The goal is to place the arrows in certain spots on the game grid that will get the Chu Chus to their rockets.

What made the original Dreamcast version such a blast to play was the multiplayer mode. Up to four people could face off against each other, with everyone trying to place arrows all over the same grid in a crazy attempt to get as many Chu Chus into their team rockets as possible. This was a party game at its finest. The Dreamcast version also included a Puzzle Mode, which has you getting all the Chu Chus to the rockets without losing a single one.

And now we have the mobile version. I should add, the mobile JAVA version. There’s all the difference in the world between Java and Symbian applications, and the bottom line is Java sucks for game development, but since it’s integrated into almost every mobile phone out there it’s a pretty safe bet for developers.

So the first point I should go over is the graphics. Chu Chu Rocket has never been known for amazing graphics as it consists of some 2D mice running around the screen. I think the most complicated graphic element in the entire game is the rocket blasting off whenever you complete a stage. The focus is on the gameplay, not the graphics.

Long story short, the mobile version does a great job of making the game look positively horrible. Graphics definitely look a lot more pixelated than they should be. But that’s ok.

Since Java doesn’t support Bluetooth multiplayer, the mobile version of Chu Chu Rocket focuses on the Puzzle/Challenge modes of the series. Which normally wouldn’t be a problem, except – the levels are just way too easy. The Dreamcast Chu Chu Rocket had some brilliantly designed puzzles that really tested the limits of thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, the Java version was not developed by the same team. iFone really needs to hire some more creative thinkers to rethink these puzzles – I think most 6-year olds can design more difficult puzzles than the ones included here.

Although the worst part of the whole experience is that I CAN’T STOP PLAYING! It’s scary. I guess that counts for something.

Summary:

-Horrendous graphics
-Even worse animation
-Not much replay value
-Sound doesn’t work and probably never will

++Controls are simple and work well with mobile phones keypads
+Really addictive

Final Verdict: I expected a better tribute to one of the best games on Dreamcast. But despite its problems, Chu Chu Rocket still manages to be an addicting game.

Chu Chu Rocket Mobile.

***

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