Johnny Rocket : The 2D Side-Scroller That Misses the Mark

Johnny Rocket was reviewed on the Xbox One.

Johnny Rocket is a difficult, mind-boggling 2D side-scroller – although on the Xbox Store page it looks like a cute adventure that’s been doodled for fun.

The game begins with a looped audio piece that doesn’t seem to end as you progress through the game. As you continue to play, it unfortunately detracts from the experience more than it adds.

You play as a character who is trying to get through a weak defense system to hopefully earn something at the end – gameplay has its fun moments, but does Johnny Rocket do enough to keep you invested until the end?

The game includes multiple levels – which are all unique in their own way – and multiple boss fights. After said boss fights you get rewarded a small cartoon character who is possibly the only person you can see in colour in the game.

The game has an arcade-like feel to it and that’s what makes it enjoyable, a simple quest to defeat some evil forces and take down their empire while doing simple tasks to get there.

The Game’s Mechanics

The boss fights in Johnny Rocket occur at the end of every level as far as I’ve made it into the game – which isn’t very – the game is extremely difficult not because of the general difficulty that it’s intended to be but because of the AI in the game.

I want to make it clear that I’m not blaming it on the game because I’m a sore loser. I’ve had the game since the 8th of January and, well, they usually say the more time you spend with a game the better you’ll become. In Johnny Rocket, it just feels like sometimes that winning a boss fight or reaching a checkpoint is just by sheer luck. And for the record there is no difficulty mode other than the one you play the game with regularly, although there is an option for hardcore. I’m not nearly brave enough to select that.

There is a particular weapon in the game that makes me despise it. I’m not sure what we’re calling it but it looks a little bit like a flame thrower. The AI just seems to fire it aimlessly in your direction when it’s in their possession. Because of this, you may be trying to dodge them but can’t because they won’t stop shooting it. It was a harrowing experience.

The Technical Stuff

The audio in the game is repetitive and detracts from the experience – the background music to be exact. It just sort loops around forever. At times, it made me want to put my television on mute. Though the graphics are adorable in their own black and white way. As much as the game doesn’t have color your face will by the end of the first level because you’ll be so infuriated.

The controls seem a bit fast, “for a pro-gamer” you might say, but you’ve got to think how many pro-gamers will be buying Johnny Rocket at $4.99 on the Microsoft store. What I mean is there doesn’t seem to be any intensity to how much you move, you just end up moving halfway across the screen and being killed by a flame-throwing brute.

As much as you get your reward of a colourful character speaking nonsense things into your face it doesn’t always seem to cut it for me. I found myself going outside for a smoke just to calm myself down and even then I don’t smoke. I just pretend and then later-on in the evening inflict pain on myself by ripping out my lungs instead of letting them go black.

But apart from all the painful bits, the game has something so special that it kept bringing me back. I don’t know if it was just to try and prove my manhood by not being beaten by a 2 dimensional army of little people with guns and flame-throwers.

Final words

So even if you are a “pro-gamer” or you’re just some bloke like me who thought oh that game looks nice and got myself excited thinking oh it looks adventurous and then realized it has become the bane of my life, you can enjoy it.

It roughly takes me about 30-60 minutes to complete a level in this game but it’s somehow still just bringing me back straight into the action yet again. So no matter how “pro” you are you can do it, and for roughly $5 on the store it’s not a bad investment.

I can assure you that you’ll get a lot of playtime on this and you will also shout at the AI. So that’s it a bargain for what it is and who knows what it will become.

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