Review – Rotor

Rotor is described by the developers, Pocket Starship, as Crazy Taxi with helicopters and a Mirror’s Edge aesthetic. They’re totally right.

Immediately obvious, even from the trailer, is how great this game looks. The colour schemes, which you can edit in minute detail, look tremendous and mean that even though there’s only one “level,” every game you play feels completely different. You just have to randomise the colours before you begin.

Control in Rotor takes some getting used to, due to a law that states that all helicopter-based video games must be quite difficult to control at first. Luckily, this one is far less cumbersome than most and rather than map twelve controls to every button, it keeps things simple. The left and right sticks control the direction your ship turns or moves in, RT operates thrust, and LT operates air brakes. It’s a very simple system and the only difficulty comes from being so used to tight FPS style controls, which are similar. Where you don’t have to deal with inertia in an FPS though, it’s essential to get used to it here as your helicopter is flung all over the place. Soon though, it becomes second nature and you can feel genuine improvement, and you can see it in your scores.

Mainly, issues with controls are because of the camera which sometimes makes it difficult to see where you are in relation to things in the world, and whether or not you’re moving.

There are three main modes in Rotor, Arcade, 3 minute, and 10 minute. The gameplay in each is similar and while the timed modes just tick down, Arcade is where the Crazy Taxi style gameplay comes in. Each time you accept a new event in Arcade, your time is extended slightly, and so if you’re good you can go on and on, it’s easily the most compelling of the three games and the one where you’ll spend the most time.

There are three types of events in all three modes. One gives you a line to follow and you’re graded on your accuracy. Another is a checkpoint race, and is similar. The final type is an orb hunt, where you’re given a random number and asked to find that many orbs in time. Orb hunting is where your precision flying skills are truly tested, and you’d be advised to avoid those at first if possible!

In a way, there’s not much to do in Rotor, but the more you play it, the more you want to play it. As you get better and better the game seems to open up, and suddenly what could be a quite frustrating experience to begin with becomes wonderful as you swerve around at impossible angles destroying your previous high scores.

Rotor is available now for 80 Microsoft Points.

One Response to Review – Rotor

  1. Pingback: Pocket Starship Publish Rotor Post Mortem « Achievement Locked

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