Rockchinko more than a Peggle Clone

Posted: May 8, 2009 in Puzzle

I’m sure most of us have heard the saying about not judging a book by its cover. I recently had one of those moments when I first saw Rockchinko. Having played Peggle for years, I initially dismissed Rockchinko as yet another Peggle clone. Of course, I would try it out first, but I wasn’t going to be open minded about it. My superficial assumptions almost got the better of me because while it has similar elements to Peggle, Rockchinko is a terrifically addictive game, uniquely innovative in leveraging the benefits of the iPhone/iPod Touch platform.

Just as in Peggle, the objective in Rockchinko is to clear out the red orbs by shooting a ball at the top of the screen. Presented in vibrantly colored environments each filled with different colored orbs, the game features 8 worlds with more than 40 levels. The game offers three gameplay modes: Normal (Campaign), Randomizer, and Rockstar. Normal mode is unlocked by default, while Randomizer and Rockstar, are unlocked once you complete Rockchinko in Normal mode. Randomizer throws out random levels, while Rockstar provides 16 additional levels (2 new levels per world). The game also has a good variety of theme music and sound effects for each of the worlds.

A canon is located at the top of the screen, which can be adjusted to varying degrees by dragging your finger left or right and double tapping to shoot. Later on, the canon automatically slides back and forth, which adds a nice bit of challenge to the game. I’ll tell you right now that the controls work very well and do as they’re intended.

One big difference from Peggle is that Rockchinko leverages the accelerometer capability of the iPhone/iPod Touch in the gameplay…more on that later. Another difference is the variety of power ups that you can secure and use to clear levels.

• The Flamethrower incinerates everything in its path
• Slow-Mo slows down time
• Triple Ball shoots 3 balls at a time
• The Devastator wipes out all the blue orbs in a single blast
• Mega Ball drops a huge you know what (think wrecking ball)

Each of these power ups are secured during the game and can be accessed via a small pop-up menu that appears by swiping upwards on the screen.

In addition to power ups, you must overcome a number of obstacles that add to the challenge of the game. Many red orbs will be located behind hatches and walls that can only be accessed by activating switches with the balls. Also similar to what you would see in brick breaker-type games, various moving platforms as well as the Windmills of Doom can either hinder or help when you need to strategically choreograph some select ricochets. In particular, the Windmills of Doom can divert your ball off or on course depending how it shakes out. Another neat feature are Warp Holes that instantly transfer the ball from one location to another, and in some cases, allow safe travel in both directions.

Unlike Peggle, Rockchinko gives some control in where the ball bounces. Earlier I mentioned the accelerometer. During gameplay, you have some steering capabilities in where the ball bounces and travels similar to tilting in a pinball game. It’s not a huge amount of control—that would be too easy—but it can be enough to make the difference. Once you shoot a ball, the ball will bounce around hitting orbs and side walls until it falls off the screen. And, when you’re down to the last orb and get the ball near it, the game goes into slow-mo and allows you to steer your ball towards the last orb all to the tune of the Omen theme music (or something you would hear from an Armageddon movie). A bonus timer is located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, so the faster you complete the levels the more bonus points will be added to your total score.

What don’t I like about Rockchinko? While the gameplay and the environments are nicely done, the menus have an unpolished feel to them. Functionally, they work perfectly fine, but visually, they look amateurish. Also, there isn’t a way to go back and play previously completed boards. Honestly, I think the Randomizer mode should be unlocked from the start. And, there isn’t an online scoreboard which along with the unlocked Randomizer mode would add to the replayability.

Many will consider it a Peggle clone, but that understates some of the creative nuances of Rockchinko. While Peggle is on the way, it’s good to know that there is an alternative or in some cases, a complementary experience in Rockchinko.

Albie Meter: 4 stars (Recommended)


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