July 25, 2022
The name Sparkster may bring up a few fond memories in the older gamers among you, as it was quite a popular character in the 90′s when several games revolving around it were released. However, the name went largely unused afterwards and the franchise slowly faded into oblivion. That is, until recently, when Rocket Knight was released and gave a long-awaited revival to the series. Fans seemed to love it straight at launch, and after looking at what the game has to offer, you'll quickly see why.
Rocket Knight builds on the familiar formula used in the previous games in the series, namely being a platformer with a heavy emphasis on its combat elements. The camera has been noticeably moved farther away from the character, which offers you a lot more flexibility in movement, especially when it comes to roaming around with the jetpack, as it's now a lot safer to do so.
Some of Sparkster's abilities from the previous games have been toned down, on the other hand – for example, you can no longer bounce from walls at will, instead being forced to hit them at a very specific angle to perform a successful bounce. Also, jumping mid-air has been removed, or rather replaced by the ability to simply stay afloat for a few seconds.
Apart from the standard mode of play, you're now also offered a “Freeplay” mode, which gives you unlimited lives and lets you play a level of your choice (from those you've already completed in the standard mode). Take note that achievements can only be earned while playing on the standard mode, so if you're feeling confident with your skills you'll probably want to roll in that direction sooner or later. After all, what does it matter that your lives are limited when you've built up enough experience to not die often in the first place, right?
Graphics and System Requirements
As you'd expect, the old 16-bit 2D graphics are gone, and there's a shiny new 3D – or rather 2.5D engine – running behind the scenes. The 2.5D style has become very popular for modern platformers, where levels are built from standard 3D meshes, while some items like pick-ups and background scenery are drawn using 2D sprites. The game looks vibrant and colorful, and the developers have managed to preserve the style of Sparkster down to the last point.
If you're playing on the PC, you shouldn't expect the requirements to be that high, as most of the 3D technology used isn't demanding at all. A moderately good computer should be able to handle the game just fine, so don't worry about that aspect that much.
One of the downsides of Rocket Knight is its price – you may see a lot of people complaining about it if you do some brief searching, and with a reason – considering its length and the amount of content it offers, the developers may have gone a bit too far pricing it.
Rocket Knight is a worthy revival to a great franchise, and it's a good sign for fans of old classics – maybe your favorite title will get a quality do-over soon enough! Until then, this should keep you entertained for quite a while.