Adventures of Rocaman Review
I don’t like to be lied to. Let’s get that straight for a start. I especially do not like to be promised dinosaurs, and then not see any.
Adventures of Rocaman had the potential to be a great little game. Its brief description ticked all the boxes for me. It claims to be a “classic platformer game”, and in fairness it is a standard 2D sidescrolling journey that does require a fair bit of jumping. But that is about as far as it goes, and even that it does below average. The rest of the description of the game got my childish dreams up, and looking back after the ten minutes it took to complete the game, I do not know why it says what it does. The sentence reads “Through 8 worlds of the prehistoric, battle against dinosaurs and take on dangerous roads with our friend Rocaman.” Easy enough to understand, but let’s use this as a template to break this game down in order to show you how it does not deliver any of these things.
“Through 8 worlds of the prehistoric”
Rocaman is essentially a caveman who lives amongst the dinosaurs; so it may be historically incorrect but that has never stopped video games before. The usual sights of a prehistoric landscape would normally be a lot of greenery, mountains and trees. In Rocaman these standard things not only come at a minimum, but they also belong to the wrong era. Trees and other greenery looks like it has been shipped in from your local park, and the mountains are in fact space age buildings made of tiles. Perhaps the weirdest environments of all though are seen in stage 5; a crappy psychedelic disco version of the prehistoric era. Bizarre.
As platformers often have players do, Rocaman contains coins and bags of money to collect. But these items are not particularly prehistoric either. In fact the only thing that can be identified as prehistoric is Rocaman’s furry leotard. But even then, Rocaman can be transformed into a caveman with futuristic abilities. Upon eating an apple Rocaman transforms into a blonde haired super caveman, who swishes his club to fire blue energy balls. I do not mean to be funny, but since when were cavemen vegetarian? Not needing meat at all then, these apples also allow Rocaman to take one extra hit before falling to his knees and being reset to the beginning of the level.
“Battle against Dinosaurs”
The fact that there are not really any dinosaurs in this game is probably its biggest disappointment. There are three types of enemy in total: a giant tortoise, a jaguar that roars fireballs (seriously), and about the only feasible one is something that resembles a deformed pterodactyl. That is your lot. Unless of course you include the lizard man with his ball and chain that makes up the finale of the game.
“Take on dangerous roads”
Trust me on this, Rocaman is not on a very dangerous journey at all. Apart from the odd cast of ‘dinosaurs’ to deal with, he has a few spikes, some gaps to jump and the odd bit of lava. The game is not hard with any stretch of the imagination. Extra lives are rewarded with every 100 coins collected, as well as being scattered around the levels. The game does not have a save system or even checkpoints in the levels. The reason for this is because it is so easy and over in such a short time, you barely have time to do any dying. During my first playthrough that lasted about 10-15 minutes, I did not die once. This is not because I am gifted with incredible platforming skills, the reason is simply that the game is just really easy.
Despite how bad all of the above points are, none of them top how bare the sound design in the game is. The game has a catchy little tune at its main menu, and then it all goes downhill from there. The background music is simply an ambient drumbeat that adds nothing to the game whatsoever. Expectations for a game like this would be an exciting and high-tempo track, but I was just left bored by a simple drumbeat on loop. Admittedly it changed twice by adding a weird synth over the top, but that just distanced me further from the prehistoric setting. Most odd was that Rocaman was not wearing any plungers on his feet because that is exactly what it sounds like when he runs. Lastly, in the majority of cases where you would expect sound to add a bit of character, there quite plainly isn’t any.
“With our friend Rocaman”
The only real positive of the game is that the mechanics all seem to work adequately. Everything else is lacklustre and needs more work put into it. Despite keeping a score that builds up through the game, there is no scoreboard to compare your scores on; essentially diminishing any replay value the game could hold. Inevitably this game will last you 15 minutes tops, and you will come out feeling disappointed and cheated.
In all honesty, I question whether Rocaman is in fact a caveman. The game convinces me to believe that he is actually just some weird guy in a leotard that jumps around the local park, beating up tortoises and occasionally consuming a few of the mushrooms lying around to fuel his psychedelic adventure. In all truth, that is actually a much more accurate description of the game.
As to that last part of the game’s actual description; no you are not my friend Rocaman. I am sorry.