One of the AppStore’s most addictive, and incredibly awesome puzzle platformers has got to be Shaun Inman’s The Last Rocket. With it’s great retro graphics, simple one-touch tap/swipe/hold controls, and fantastic gameplay filled with style, it’s one iOS game that everyone should own. Fans of the game will be happy to hear that Flip the rocket is back, in an all new game, Flip’s Escape, an endless game that takes place after the events of The Last Rocket.
One thing I should bring up before we start. Flip’s Escape is not a sequel to The Last Rocket. In fact, aside from having Flip as the main character, it’s nothing like The Last Rocket. Flip’s Escape is more of a mini-game when compared to it’s predecessor, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s not worth checking out. Rather than go the Kickstarter route, Shaun Inman decided to take 3 weeks, and throw together an endless game to appease fans of The Last Rocket, and let them in on what Flip had to go through after the ending of the game. The money made with Flip’s Escape is all going to help fund Shaun’s next game. It is nowhere near as depthy or content rich as The Last Rocket, but is a great idea when you look at the alternative.
Now with that out of the way; Flip’s Escape. There’s one mode contained in the game, but there’s quite a bit of drive and plenty of ‘one-more-go’ gameplay. Flip moves left and right automatically at the bottom of the screen. Tapping anywhere causes Flip to stop moving. The goal of the game is to avoid hitting asteroids while collecting the stars that orbit said asteroids and get as far away as you can from the blast lingering behind you.
Collecting the stars that orbit the asteroids fills up your star meter. Once you’ve collected 6 stars, it’s WARP time! While you’re warping, if you tap the screen as quickly as you can, you’ll build up your warp meter, and travel further distances. Flip also collects gems while he’s warping, which you can use to purchase and upgrade items in the shop.
In the shop, there are two cheap consumable items which you can use to get a little further in your travels; the Nose Cone Drill, which lets you survive 1 asteroid collision and the Star Magnet, which attracts 5 missed stars. These are stackable, and you’re able to take 3 of each into each game with you. What’s great is that if you die and you haven’t used up all of the magnets yet, they are carried over into your next game. Also available in the shop is the Speed Inhibitor, which reduces your maximum speed, and the Speed Booster, which, you guessed it, increases your minimum speed. These have a pretty big effect on your warp distances, as the Speed Inhibitor will cause you to not travel as far while warping, no matter how quickly tap, and result in not collecting as many gems, and the Speed Booster will make you travel further while warping, resulting in more collected gems. You might be asking, ‘Well then why even include the Speed Inhibitor?’ – well, the game can be pretty difficult, and avoiding asteroids can be a challenge, and slower movement helps with that, which could wind up getting you further in the long run. It really depends on how you feel about the difficulty of the game as to which booster you choose to purchase.
Also included in the shop are Friends. These friends are fairly costly, but totally worth saving up for. The Fare earns you 1 gem for every 10 lightyears traveled, and when you’re traveling upwards of 10,000 lightyears each game, that really adds up! The Trailer is your other available friend, tripling the amount of consumable storage space, letting you carry up to 9 of each consumable item. The last items are the Hulls. These are the most costly, priced at 200 and 300 thousand gems, they are purely cosmetic, but do give gamers something to play for after all the other items and upgrades have been purchased.
The graphics and animations are, of course, totally reminiscent of The Last Rocket. If you love the whole retro 8-bit throwback look, you’ll love the graphics. The background animations are also top notch, with stars racing by leaving little streams of light behind them when traveling fast, and those streams of light disappearing when you stop Flip, it definitely adds to the whole feel of the game. The music is also just like TLR’s chiptune tracks, completing the whole retro feel that Shaun Inman has become so incredibly great at creating.
So; is Flip’s Escape worth checking for $0.99? While it is Universal, and supports GameCenter, with leaderboards for Furthest Distance Traveled, Furthest Distance With Upgrades, Furthest Distance Without Upgrades, Furthest Distance Without a Collision and Furthest Distance Without Warping along with 20 pretty hard to snag achievements, all adding the typical endless replay value all endless games have, there will be people that this just doesn’t click with. After The Last Rocket, Shaun Inman set a bar, not only for himself, but for future puzzle platformer developers to come. Flip’s Escape doesn’t come close to hitting that same bar, which will upset some gamers and fans of The Last Rocket. However, if you look at Flip’s Escape as more of a great, unique, original endless game that you got as a special thank you for helping to contribute to Shaun Inman’s next video game project, chances are, you’ll totally enjoy it. The challenge is crazy, and with some insanely high scores on the leaderboards already, the score-chasing has already hit full throttle. Hardcore gamers looking for a hardcore endless distance gameplay experience will eat Flip’s Escape up. It has the ‘just-one-more-time’ hook perfectly done, and lets fans of The Last Rocket in on what happened to Flip after the end of the game. With Flip’s Escape only taking 3 weeks to complete, I’m totally stoked to find out what Shaun’s been working on, and is continuing to work on. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out.