Card games can take virtually any shape, and after making versions of Solitaire, and Poker, Graeme Devine of GRL Games has crafted a brand new card game. Rocket Patrol offers offers up a retro sci-fi theme as the backdrop for an online turn based card game with all new rules. There are 12 unique play cards with each one being essential to the overall gameplay, which is surprisingly complex, and action packed despite such simple beginnings. Your goal is to be the first to reach 350 light years, which requires a specific arrangement of cards with two 100s, two 25s, four 15s, and eight 5s. That’s 16 cards you have to play to reach the finish line, but there’s so much more than that.
Along your rocket flight, there are three red obstacle cards that can be played to throw a wrench into the journey to the finish line. Luckily, there are three green fix-it cards with each one corresponding to a specific red obstacle card. To round out the card set, there are two blue cards to activate hyperspace, or deactivate your opponent’s hyperspace, and hyperspace is required to play the two 100 cards. Just 12 card types can make for so many complications with the 16 cards you need to play, and all of the other cards that get in the way so well. On some turns you need to decide if it s better to propel your rocket forward, or try to disable your opponent, all in the hopes that they don’t have the proper fix in their deck.
One of the most used turns is throwing away a card to try to get one you need, but each turn you waste burning through cards can lead to an advantage by your opponent. It’s a card game with so much random potential in the course of a game so no two games play alike, and it doesn’t feel like any other card game around. It’s also set-up so well for turn based gameplay, and it really flows when your opponent is online. Rocket Patrol features the turn based features you have come to expect including support for multiple games at once, chat, and notifications. The backend work in the game is simply super for near real time play when both players are online, though it would be nice to see a real time option, as going through turn based pop-ups when both players are online can be a bit bothersome. It would also be nice to see a local multiplayer option for two players on one iPad.
One of the best parts of the game is playing multiple matches at once with a couple of friends both online when you are. When you finish a turn in one game, another turn is accessible right when you’re done, and the game features a great interface that lets you switch games right from the end turn panel. Rocket Patrol also includes a single player mode to try your luck with an AI opponent. There’s just so much polish, and charm that went into every pixel, and piece of code in this game to make it really shine. The retro sci-fi theme is infused so well, to nicely encompass such a good card game. Rocket Patrol is completely free to enjoy, but for just $0.99 you can unlock the full game with two additional cards. There’s also the ability to exchange your entire hand which costs stars, and you get 20 at launch, but can buy more.
Rocket Patrol (Free, iPad) is one finely crafted card game that provides such a unique experience on iPad making it a thoroughly worthwhile download.