Some games let you drive a car, or fly a plane. If you are lucky you might get a city to micromanage. Rocketron puts you in charge of guiding an entire PLANET through the universe.
Luckily, the planet in question is a cute little fella with four tropical islands sticking out of his oceans. The universe he is hurtling through is a bit more 2D than ours, so there aren't quite as many variables to account for as you might assume if you were new to the field of planet-piloting. This is all too good as you must prevent the planet Rocketron from being destroyed, using just one finger.
Like Whale Trail, Rocketron is another single-tap game. Where Whale Trail was a woozy, dreamy slice of psychedelia, Rocketron is an altogether more hyped-up affair. Your little planet (the design of which owes much to Katamari Damacy) whizzes along an abstract landscape at a frenetic pace. Using a single tap you can reverse gravity so that Rocketron is attracted to the solid platforms either above or below him.
These platforms are studded periodically with spikes or other obstacles that will kill you on contact. Later levels have gaps in the platforms that will cause you to fly off into space as well as split-level platforms that make you choose a high or low road to the goal. Tap once and you will fly up to the ceiling, tap again and you plummet down again. That's pretty much it, but this simplicity manages to create a game that will have you biting your knuckles bloody in frustration. In a good way.
Graphically, the game has a retro feel that verges on eight-bit, but in fact uses the same Unity 3D engine that powers iOS shooter Shadow Gun to give fast parallax animation and spinning 3D shapes in the background. The game runs as smooth as silk and the collision detection is mercilessly accurate.
Single tap games are the perfect snack-sized distractions for a bus journey or a spare moment with nothing to do, and Rocketron is even more immediate than most. Just pick it up, tap go and you are off. The game is fiendishly hard and you will frequently die, but alongside the words YOU DIED pulsing in and out of the screen there is also the phrase 'tap to retry'.
The urge to do just that is strong and we guarantee that you will be tapping away at this one out of the kind of joyful frustration you only get from the most addictive games.
Rocketron costs 60p from the Android Marketplace