Review: RoverCraft

Roving and Crafting Your Days Away

By Cameron Van der Does

It’s 1:33am as I write this, I can’t sleep so that makes it the perfect time to try out a new game. I was going through my Facebook, as you do, when I noticed an ad for a game in the App Store. Now usually I am not one to get a game from an ad on Facebook, but the name “RoverCraft” grabbed my attention. Is it because I subconsciously connected it with Minecraft? Yes, but then I noticed the game art. It reminded me of a flash game I used to play many moons ago, so I downloaded it in the hopes it was the same people.

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Grids make designing your interstellar explorer a breeze.

I didn’t recognise the name Mobirate Studios, but I played on anyway. Alas, it was not what I was hoping for, yet I couldn’t put it down. RoverCraft is a very simple game where your purpose is to design a vehicle to navigate across a planets’ surface to get to the mother-ship. You start off in a 5×10 grid, with each part taking up one square, excluding the pilot and seat which takes up 4. Your first attempt has you starting on Mercury with a basic craft, you barely make it over the first jump, which is usually the case in these kinds of games.

You earn a bit of money and it takes you through the upgrades system. Essentially each item has a weight, power and durability level you can upgrade, there are also different parts to buy. Assorted types of wheels, stronger frames to build on, turbo boosters, typical stuff for a space craft creator. Unfortunately, you don’t start with much moolah which prevents you from getting those sweet upgrades, but lucky for us, they offer in-game currency purchases. I, however, declined this feature but set my attention on the “watch this video for coins” option. I watched a video for Clash of Clans, or one of those high grossing mobile games, then the button appeared again, this time for more cash. I watch a video about dragons, more cash, singing monsters, more cash, fighting panda battles and so on until it caps out and disappears after 10 or so views. A friendly little video exploit for me, probably a bunch of ad revenue for the game developers, and in-game currency to boot, all taking up less than 3 minutes.

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Majestic space train!

With my new found wealth, I got to upgrading. Durability increase, one of them fan-dangled sticky tyres, a turbo and an awesome speed wheel. I set off on my next attempt, flying over that jump that killed me previously.  I do a cool flip and crush my drivers’ skull as he hits the floor head first. This goes on for a while and before I know it, an hour has passed. RoverCraft is like most apps these days, highly addictive. It has a simple design with easy mechanics but still offers a challenge to the player. It’s free so the price is certainly right, and if you happen to have some money burning a hole in your pocket, the micro transactions may entice you.

You start off with access to 3 planets, Mercury, Venus and Earth, with a further 5 to be purchased with in-game currency. It seems to have a substantial amount of content, especially if you use it as your toilet/waiting for a bus time waster. It took me over 2 hours of actual gameplay to have upgraded my vehicle enough to pass the first level, and that isn’t even with a good time. Oh, apparently the runs are also timed.

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Falling apart is a common problem if you don’t keep your durability leveled up.

All in all, a very fun game, though aggravating at times. One bad point is the physics, they feel a little clunky at times and if you happen to over steer your craft and land on the front or back of it without having some kind of buffer system, you won’t be killed, which I guess is nice, but you will have to wait a while for you battery to run out. You can hit the retry button but this causes you to lose all the money you earned in that run. Sometimes you just want the driver to die and get on with it, but this guy just seems to hold on to his tiny spaceman life. Despite the minor faults, RoverCraft is a free, fun for all game with decent content and upgrades out the wazoo, definitely deserving of a spot in your games folder!

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