For many gamers out there finding the opportunity to play can be difficult. Between work, chores, the gym and social obligations it can be hard to set aside let alone find the time to dedicate themselves to learning the nuances or following the story of a modern game. Fortunately there is an ever growing market that caters to the casual gamer and Rocka Fella is just such a game.
Monsters, mazes and boulders are just part of an average day for the protagonist of BBQ Games latest development Rocka Fella, which seeks to revive the classic gameplay of yesteryear. Taking cues from arcade classics such as Boulder Dash and Repton, Rocka Fella places the player within a maze of soil and stone in which they must avoid a variety of creatures while collecting various precious stones all the while ensuring that they do not become trapped by the many boulders interspersed amongst the soil.
Gameplay wise Rocka Fella brings little originality or ingenuity to the table however much like the games “arcadian” predecessors it is the simplicity of the game that makes it so attractive to the gamer on the go. With the length of a level lasting little longer than the average cigarette break players will be able to drop and return to the game as they wish without any concerns of losing their place in the story or losing time relearning the mechanics of gameplay.
Despite being in the early stages of development the graphics of the game are simple and clean and don’t look particularly out of place for a game that will most likely find its niche in a mobile or app based format. The variety of tile-sets is fairly reasonable, boasting a collection of at least 10 different layouts that include geological and industrial themes in addition to one or two that bare more than passing pop-culture reference. The H.R. Giger tile set is particularly attractive and should prove a mainstay in popularity
In addition to the single player mode developers BBQ Games are also working on providing players with the ability to create their own level designs and playlists with the option to share their designs with their friends and other players online. This level of customisation should add some longevity to what is otherwise a very short casual and game. In addition to that, I would personally like to see some sort of community scoreboard implemented so that players can compete with one another on a global and perhaps local level (assuming the game reaches the popularity to warrant it) as much of the fun with arcade games came from competing with other players for the prestigious high score and bragging rights
Audio-wise little has been presented yet in terms of soundtrack or in-game sound effects however if the trailer is anything to go by we can likely expect a jovial and jaunty collection of piano based themes. Personally I believe the game would benefit from the use of public domain classical themes much like the pieces used in the console classic Lemmings and some versions of the legendary Tetris. Not only would it add to the feeling on nostalgia that the developers are attempting to evoke but it would also reduce budgetary constraints and allow the developers to focus elsewhere.
Ultimately Rocka Fella from all appearance seems to be following in the footsteps of both its spiritual predecessors and the footsteps of the developer’s previous titles in that the focus of the game is placed squarely on gameplay opposed to visual presentation and in that regard it passes with flying colors. It’s simple, enjoyable and potentially addictive, ticking all the boxes for a successful casual experience. However I worry that the choice of platform for the game’s release will ultimately prove to be a massive detriment to it’s success, as a sole release in steam will reduce the portability of the game and in turn its attractiveness to the casual gamer. Time will ultimately tell.
Chris Senz is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2.