Tuesday, October 8, 2013

PC Spotlight #22: Rktcr

Title: Rktcr
Developer: tchow
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $9.99 (currently on sale on IGS, pay what you want)
Rktcr ("rocketcar") is not just about tricky physics-based platforming. Sure that's the core gameplay but Rktcr's true focus is perfection. It's all about refining and honing your runs to achieve that single perfect attempt and thanks to some of the coolest time control mechanics I've seen in a game, that pursuit of perfection remains fun and satisfying throughout.
A description of Rktcr probably sounds like an abstract Fringe episode. You control a rocket propelled vehicle through twisting environments to reach portals to new levels, and must consider possible futures and move back and forth through the timeline of your run to perfect your route. That may sound complicated but in practice, the gameplay is easy to grasp, a challenge to master. You control your rocket's thrust with the arrow keys and move back and forth through time, as well as slow and speed up time with A,D, Shift, and Ctrl. A real-time path extending from your rocketcar shows you exactly where your vehicle will end up and how every change in thrust and momentum will affect your movement. This allows you to correct a failed jump in mid-air or figure out how to best conserve your momentum upon landing. You can even save and share your paths online. Reaching portals lead to new levels and in my opinion, the level transitions just never get old.

Rktcr isn't an easy game; in fact it's more complex than I expected. There are numerous factors and special maneuvers to consider and utilize from simply conserving momentum to using the spring that connects your wheels like a rubber band to catapult you over large gaps to alternating wheels for better traction up inclines. You'll have to utilize these skills in conjunction with your ability to control and change time to succeed across an expansive campaign filled with open twisting levels and a challenge mode. There's even a story, connected to the gems you collect throughout the campaign, but it's more a humorous aside than anything else.
Rktcr may be too frustrating or difficult for some players, but I found the challenge fun and rewarding and there's no other game quite like Rktcr. You can purchase the game from Desura or the developer's site and vote for it on Steam Greenlight. (Rktcr is also IGS' featured Pay What You Want game deal for a limited time.)

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