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GDC 2011: A Preview of ‘Flick Rocket’ from BinarySquare

Here at GDC we had a chance to sit down with retro savvy Dan Bliss from BinarySquare and preview his upcoming iPad / iPhone (Universal) game Flick Rocket. With this one, I think Dan has outdone himself on delivering the retro aesthetic goodness; the game’s visuals pretty much jump off the screen and smack you in the face.

Flick Rocket is something of a mash-up of Missile Command, Space Invaders, Centipede, and Asteroids — and that’s quite a combination. As in Missile Command, you control a defense turret with the goal of defending a city from attack. But this time around, your missiles are much more obviously missiles, rendered out in glowing pixellated goodness. They are dispatched with a swipe mechanic that sends them off at any trajectory you choose. So, who are you shooting at? That’s where things get interesting.

The first type of enemy you must defend against is a horde of Space Invaders-style alien baddies that slowly march across the screen while dropping bombs upon Tokyo. The second assault comes in the form of a pixellated space centipede that meanders about the screen in an effort to flatten Paris. The third and final type of onslaught comes in the form of a brutal hale of asteroids that, unchecked, may spell the end of Los Angeles.

There are a number of power-ups that appear when certain enemies are destroyed, including a driller shot which lets your rockets cut through a swath of enemies and bounce off the walls; a bounce shot which causes your rocket to bounce about the advancing enemies, taking out several before exploding; a blaster shot that unleashes multiple warheads from your rocket upon detonation, and a confusion power-up that causes your rockets to fly all willy nilly. And, while firing rockets is a core mechanic, don’t do so with too great an abandon, as there is a rocket damage multiplier that rewards you for judicious use of your weapons.

Flick Rocket features online leaderboard and achievement tracking, a Campaign and a quick-play Arcade mode, and requires a bit of strategy to rank well. It’s a clever title with a great look that I’m anxious to spend more than those few minutes in the Marriott lobby with.