Mike S takes a look at the Game Boy Advance version of one of the best puzzle games of all time.
First off, I loved Chu Chu Rocket on the Dreamcast. It’s one of my favorite Dreamcast games. So, that will obviously affect this review. Chu Chu Rocket is a fantastic puzzler game. Its simple premise and awesome gameplay make it addictive. The game retains its cute graphics that were present in the DC version. Sonic Team has used scaling to add some very cool effects to the Kapu Kapus (cats). The game animates very smoothly also, and the characters are very slick ACM (CG rendered) sprites. The game also sounds pretty darn good. Nothing spectacular. Though I am very glad that Sonic Team kept their little “Sonic eh Team eh” sound intro from the Dreamcast version. In fact, pretty much all of the sounds in the game are ripped from the Dreamcast version.
Gameplay is the meat of Chu Chu Rocket. This game is addictive. You can pass many hours trying to get those stupid little rats into the rocket. Chu Chu Rocket is one of those “easy to learn, hard to master” games. It seems simple enough when you start, but later on it gets intense and complex, especially in a 4-player match up.
Being a veteran of the Dreamcast game, I had to make quite the adjustment to the controls of the GBA version. The game comes with 3 different control settings, and it may take a while to pick the one you’re best with. You can use either A or B to cycle through panels when you place them, you can use A plus the D-pad to place a panel, or you can use A and B to place up and down panels, and L and R for left and right panels. I went with the 4 button “Pro” controls. I find it much easier to have each button do one thing and one thing only. But be warned, no matter which setup you pick, you will need to stick with it for a while until you get good with it. The new special modes activated by the “?” Chu Chu’s are great too. Stealing Mania is an absolute blast!
If there is one thing that sets the GBA version of Chu Chu Rocket from its big brother, it’s extras. The GBA version comes completely packed with them. The GBA version comes with 200 extra puzzle stages that were designed by players of the Dreamcast version. Also, the GBA version supports not only a create-a-stage mode but also a create-a-character mode so that you can design your own sprites to replace the Chu Chus.
Overall, Chu Chu Rocket is a fantastic game. I’d certainly rank at one of the top 5 puzzle games of all time; it’s up there with Tetris, Tetris Attack, and Puyo Puyo. If you are a puzzle fan, you must own this game. If you’re not a puzzle fan, this game is still great and I highly recommend it. It’s an excellent way to kill time. Just don’t play it too much, or you’ll start having Kapu Kapu’s chase you in your dreams!