Gangster Rocco is a hard app to sell no matter how you spin it. Developer iPhonky certainly took elements of different trends that sell in the app store but the odd combination of features and style may end up turning possible players off.
In Gangster Rocco you control “Rocco”, a mouse dressed in attire that could only be appropriate for a 1940’s mobster on the job. You control Rocco with the iPhone’s tilt controls as he makes his way down a long seedy alley. The alley is strewn with enemy cats, mouse traps, and two different kinds of cheese.
Perhaps not be the usual trappings of a city alley, but they are the objects the player has to gather or avoid. The cats are on the list of items to avoid, as are the mouse traps. The cheeses garner 10 and 20 points respectively. All of these objects scroll down the alley towards Rocco at varying speeds and it’s your job to guide Rocco safely.
Tilt controls can certainly add a lot to an app, and gangsters always seem to be in style with games offered up in iTunes. Even the art style is cutesy and befitting of the gameplay, but none of it seems to click. There’s very little challenge involved in playing Gangster Rocco, and technologically it underwhelms too.
The frame rate is a little sloppy – and for a game like Gangster Rocco, you shouldn’t need a 3G S. Still, something about Gangster Rocco is sure to win some fans amongst younger users. The game is charmingly simple, so there’s very little need for instruction and younger children will still find the art style appealing. You could liken the value of Gangster Rocco to whack-a-mole – it’s all very one-track, but great for keeping kids entertained.
I tested Gangster Rocco with my girlfriend’s nieces. Their favorite apps at the moment involve popping bubble wrap, but I thought they might like something different. Gangster Rocco wasn’t too challenging for them, and the gameplay was straightforward enough that they could be set up a game and not have to ask for help every 10 seconds.
Gangster Rocco might not win any awards for achievement in design but it’s still a neat time-waster or distraction for a child old enough to engage with the tilt controls.
Gangster Rocco is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. It requires the iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.