Maybe because we like aliens; or maybe because it’s always fun to uncover hidden App Store treasures from independent developers; whatever the reason, we’re taking a look at Rocket Home by Tomatillo. A simple physics drawing game featuring “Gluons,” which are yellow blobs from some other planet trying to board their rocket bound for home. Rocket Home has 60 levels of puzzle-like obstacles that can be overcome with the creation of lines or the addition of objects.
Rocket Home objects include various shaped rocks, bombs, and other items that the Gluons interact with. The objective is to create a path from the start of each level to the end where the rocket awaits. Sometimes it is obviously necessary to create ramps, bridges, or other aids for the critters to make it and sometimes, you just have to guess. You play against a 2-minute time limit and must save a target number of creatures in order to advance to the next level.
I hate to be a downer, but Rocket Home only marginally escapes being categorized as bad. It has some of the necessary elements for success, like a storyline and interactive puzzle elements, but it just doesn’t raise the bar. In fact, it might only be considered good if grading on a curve. Though the app features HD graphics for the iPhone 4's retina display the animation is average, the music isn’t dreadful, but also not compelling and the drawing elements are based on a low-budget physics engine. The speed of the static elements (the Gluons) doesn’t quite match the responsiveness of the interactive elements, which is sometimes frustrating—especially if aiming for a time bonus.
To be fair, Rocket Home is a game developed on a shoe string budget, and even if it shows in some elements, it has its merits. Each level has a unique puzzle layout so no two levels are identical. The user interface is certainly friendly enough and navigation between pausing, resuming and resetting is right for a casual drawing puzzle. Rocket Home features Game Center, so you can play with friends or challenge new foes from anywhere in the world.
Players who love building within physics-based parameters can derive some enjoyment from the construction goals of Rocket Home. It's inexpensive and with 60 levels to work through users have the opportunity to stretch their entertainment dollar.