Imagine the arcade worlds of Tron and Asteroids, now toss a helicopter into the mix, and let’s have some fun. Rally Copters drops you into the plane of geometric obstacles, making you adapt to floaty flight mechanics and precision platforming. Delivering with a valiant effort, Rally Copters maintains a well rounded blend of challenge through progression. While not innovative in the field, it has the competence to satisfy a yearning player in the need for some side-scrolling shenanigans.
Developed by Depth First Games, Rally Copters adventure is broken into 3 phases. Each phase consists of multiple courses you must complete, each progressing in difficulty and level design. The way to beat a level is by passing your copter through the numbered checkpoint bubbles scattered throughout the area. The catch here is you must pass through the bubbles in numerical order for the next one to open up. A waypoint course line is provided so your not blindly flying around searching for your new checkpoint.
This course line can feel a bit hand-holding at times, but I understand the implementation of the feature. Further into the game you begin to be challenged in new ways. Instead of just passing through a bubble, you are required to hover momentarily over it until the next one unlocks. Switches that require the same hovering-to-unlock mechanic are also introduced. The switches open doors and pathways within the level. Sometimes this can be tricky as environmental hazards can inhibit you from hovering for too long. Patience and timing come into play for these sections, but they do spice up the gameplay a bit.
Rally Copters does manage to offer some depth amongst casual side scrolling. As you play, new copters become available to unlock and flag fetching missions get sprinkled here and there. An interesting feature to the mix is the leaderboard ranking system. Constantly being updated in real time, it can be a great component for the extreme competitive type. While the Rally Copters does play well, it unfortunately just didn’t have enough of a spark to keep me completely engaged and wanting to utilize all its features. It suffers from a lack of identity within the colorful crowd of indies.
Analog precision is key for control in this title. While left stick handles your primary movement, right stick changes your direction. The switch up of direction can be crucial in tight spots of maneuvering and always feels smooth. While I am not a fan for flight controls, I have to say Depth First Games did an excellent job. I never felt those frantic moments of trying to regain control of my copter.
In terms of presentation, we have a dud. I get the retro concept they were looking to achieve. With that said, in 2015 if you’re going to drop the Atari visuals, they better come with a FREE price tag. While the game runs smooth, it’s less than expected when the graphics are of the vintage variety. Some texture and enhanced lighting effects would have been refreshing.
You won’t be enthralled with any of the sound design in Rally Copters. It was ok, but nothing perked my ears. You’re given a decent selection of hard rock instrumental tunes but, after a while, they prove to be monotonous. The audio comes in clean and doesn’t falter quality wise. However, it just doesn’t stick well. Turning the sound off wouldn’t leave you missing too much for this flight.
If you’re looking for something that pulls a modern spin on classic platforming, Rally Copters could be your ticket. Although if you’re seeking something more, lack of innovation or originality makes this a mediocre recommendation.
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