Rocket Racing is part of the ever growing PSP Minis range and comes from Halfbrick Studios, who are the people behind some of favourites in this range. I have played three games from the developer, including this one now, and I have to say each of them has been a lot of fun. But Rocket Racing is by far the best of the bunch.
Rocket Racing is a futuristic racing game that is, I think, best described as Wipeout viewed from above, with boost pads and minus the weapons. Other than that the games play differently, but Rocket Racing is, in its own right, just as much fun to play. The actual vehicles in the game are all the same, except for the colour to differentiate between them. This keeps the racing down to the players skill, rather than the vehicles.
The craft is controlled simply by pressing X to accelerate and releasing to slow down, along with turning left or right. Where it does throw a spanner in the works though, is that it encourages racers to ignore any racing line they may expect would work best, such as hitting the apex of the turns like your instincts would tell you to. As a racing game fan, I found this was quite difficult to adjust to, having to force myself to go wide for turns at times. But when you get it right, it is so rewarding. The reasoning behind this is that the tracks are walled off, inside and out. So when coming into a turn, you aim for the outside wall and when you turn, your vehicles rocket engines fire against the wall, which in turn gives you a huge boost of speed. Once mastered, you can grind all the way around turns in this manner, slingshotting you out of turns carrying a lot of speed. This is tricky to master, but so rewarding when you do so.
For part of the Minis range, this game offers up a wide range of racing types, with modes such as Campaign, Grand Prix and Quick Race. The campaign mode though is the best bet, as it gives you a bit of everything. I say that because these races are not just 4 vehicles with first over the line winning. In the campaign mode you work through a series of grouped events, which range from straight races to objective races. These could involve anything from building up a certain amount of points by grinding along a wall, going through set checkpoints dotted around the track before the race finishes, finishing a race within a set time limit, catching an opposing craft a set number of times or even a mixture of any of these objectives.
Each group of races finish in a Grand Prix event, in which four events from the previous group are raced again, against another three competitors with points being awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Winning this overall lets you move onto the next group of races. These Grand Prix events are available to race from the main menu also. In campaign mode, some of the races in the event groups are extremely tough, some of which I have to yet to beat, meaning the game gives you plenty to do along with offering up a decent challenge, a lot more so than some of the other games in the Minis range.
Not only does the game deliver on the fun and playability front, but it also looks and sounds perfect. The tracks all look bright and colourful and they even have advertising boards dotted around, giving it a real racing track look. These boards themselves do their best to sell Halfbrickâ€™s other titles. A nice little touch. The sound, although the game does not really call for much more than a rocket thrust and the occasional bump on the walls, is well handled.
To be honest, I find it hard to find any fault in this game at all. So if you are looking for a Minis game for your PSP and have an interest in racing games, this is a definite buy. Although there are better full price games out there for the handheld console, Rocket Racing is, without a doubt, one best Minis out there for the PSP.
Rocket Racing is available to download from the PSN Store for the price of Â£3.99