Last November I had the pleasure to review a little game on Steam called Astervoid 2000 and for the most part really enjoyed it, so when I was offered a chance to review the fairly similar Rocket Wars I jumped at the chance. There’s just something and refreshing nice about taking a virtual step back in time and playing a game that manages to be fun and engaging with simple gameplay and without 4K visuals. But of course, when a game is as minimalist as this it wouldn’t take a lot for it to get derailed to before you jump in, make sure to check out our full review of Rocket Wars to see if this game is for you.

A click glance at the above trailer and you can probably tell what kind of game Rocket Wars is and this simplicity in both design and gameplay are among the game’s biggest strengths. You won’t need to learn complex controls or deal with tedious tutorials here, instead after just a few button presses you’re thrown right into the action. The controls are intuitive to anyone whose played this type of game in recent years and after just one match I was able to dominate my foes. Where Rocket Wars mixes things up is with its power-up system where every few seconds a new special attack will warp into the battlefield giving you new ways to fight.

The game offers three main game modes: Survival, Deathmatch and Nuke King. While the first two are pretty self-explanatory Nuke King is unique to Rocket Wars in that one player is the titular Nuke King and they score points by surviving while other players get their points by hunting down and scoring shots against the Nuke King. This mode changes the pacing of standard Rocket Wars matches that admittedly can get pretty repetitive. Thankfully each of the three game modes is playable with friends via local multiplayer though it would have been nice to have an online option. Another thing that I would have liked to see is more variety in the stages as there is only one stage throughout all the game modes.

The game’s visuals and sound design are pretty basic without too much flare and details but that’s far from a bad thing, in fact it works perfectly for this game’s art style. In a lot of ways the game looks like an updated and modern version of the arcade classic Asteroids which makes it an easy sell to fans of class-style arcade games. Speaking of an easy sell. Rocket Wars is out on Steam now for a paltry $8.79 CAD (there’s a 10% launch sale going on too) which makes it an extremely low risk-buy if you’re at all interested in the game. And there’s a fair bit of replayability involved too since the more you play you’ll gain XP and unlock new ships, each with their own special stats and skills.

Rocket Wars is a small game, with limited gameplay options and a minimalistic presentation and that’s perfectly fine. The game doesn’t try to beat you over the head with complex controls or cinema-quality visuals but instead just wants to be fun to play and in that regard it accomplishes its task. So if you’re looking to take a step back in gaming-time and try something a bit smaller, a bit lighter but that’s a lot of fun, then definitely check out Rocket Wars.

A copy of Rocket Wars was provided to Link-Cable by the publisher for the purpose of this review.