Chop Chop Rocket blasts off into mediocrity

The Chop Chop series is known for cool twitchy arcade gameplay using angry yet cute characters to get the job done. In Chop Chop Rocket, the only reason you’d know it was part of that family of titles is in the name. Otherwise, you’re looking at a totally non-descript distance-measuring arcade title.

In Chop Chop Rocket, you pilot – you guessed it! – a rocket through the cosmos. Using a surprisingly good tilt control scheme (it’s always surprising when tilting is actually responsive) you fly vertically, collecting coins to max out your score while avoiding obstacles. If you take too much damage, your flight is over and you are graded and scored based on your points earned and distance travelled.

There are two modes in Chop Chop Rocket, casual and hardcore. Casual is a more basic version of the game, with only floating asteroids to worry about, while gradually increasing your flight speed. Hardcore ups the ante by allowing you to always control your speed by sliding your finger up or down. The faster your speed, the higher the points you earn (more risk, more reward). Hardcore mode also features powerups like health regeneration or a bubble weapon that can destroy obstacles in your path.

Production wise, Chop Chop Rocket is nice, bright and colorful. It’s not the greatest thing out there, but it’s no slouch either. The boppin’ soundtrack is a good accompaniment to the action. As mentioned before, the controls are smooth and responsive, so no problems there.

The problem with Chop Chop Rocket is that it doesn’t feel like a Chop Chop game. Gone are the angry-face characters like ninjas and cavemen, replaced by an anonymous rocketeer whom you never really see. There’s also nothing wild and frenetic about the gameplay, either. It’s quite vanilla. Other than being from the same developer as previous Chop Chop games, this could have just as easily been named Space Bob’s Wild Ride and we would have had the same result.

Other niggles abound. The gameplay itself gets stale quickly. With only two modes, and despite the changes in hardcore mode, there’s not a lot to do in Chop Chop Rocket. You’ll probably be getting “A” rankings within 30 minutes of playing. And with nothing to unlock or anything else to beef up the longevity, it’s going to be a very short trip.

Chop Chop Rocket Chop Chop Rocket

Granted, in our review play the game was being played on an iPhone 3GS, but the load times are ridiculous. The first time the game booted up it took north of 30 seconds before the title screen appeared. Loading levels takes longer than it ought to as well. There’s a lot of waiting for not a lot of game.

It’s too bad that Chop Chop Rocket is saddled with the expectation of being a part of the Chop Chop line. It’s alright, but only just. And with so many other titles like it, many of which are better than Chop Chop Rocket, it’s going to be relegated to the sidelines as an average-at-best arcade title.