Your goal in sidescroller Roar Rampage is to lumber a giant monster into building-filled areas and make them significantly less building-filled, if you catch my drift. You’ll use the beast’s punching gloves to level people, helicopters, and nationally recognizable landmarks, among other things. And yes, the sick joy you get from toppling apartment complexes is expectedly present. And yes, you will want to let out a fit of evil laughter after you bust your monster’s fist through the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The unique controls put you in command of your monster’s boxing gloves, rather than the monster itself. You can either hold and drag the gloves to punch or block incoming projectiles, or you can tap away from the monster to throw a hard jab. The controls are not as dodgy as they could have been, but they still have a few moments of slipperiness. Touching and dragging tends to cover up parts of the screen during moments when blocking enemy fire is a near must. I also encountered a few times when the gloves seemed to take on a mind of their own, and jumped around erratically for a moment or two. Despite these problems, though, the controls still get the job done.
Two modes grace the game: Endless and Story. Endless is your typical “go as far as you can until you run out of health”, with the dino being unleashed on various countries throughout the world, and tons of enemies coming to stop him. You have goals to pursue to get gems (the game’s currency), like punching enemies in various ways, or destroying certain landmarks (like the Eiffel Tower in France or the Sydney Opera House in Australia). The addition of power-ups that give your gloves increased chaotic capabilities (lightning from your gloves.), and gems to collect from toppled structures round out the mode. All the normal addictive qualities of endless games are in place, and let’s be honest, how can punching down the Statue of Liberty be boring?
Story mode consists of 3 “Worlds” each with a series of stages, which all culminate in a boss fight per world. Each level is a concentrated dose of stage-leveling destruction. You are unleashed into a short area and are supposed to whale on everything in sight in order to get to the end of each level. Regulated enemies waiting to whittle your health down, and the same power-ups and gem collecting from Endless Mode, ensure that the Story Mode packs a decent punch (rimshot). The boss fights at the end of each world offer a good break from the endless “rampagery”, as they require a tad more strategy to defeat. The Story mode as a whole makes you feel like a beast of legend, but not an invincible one, and that good balance mostly remains throughout the mode. The last few levels, however, become more frustrating and uncontrollably chaotic than fun. However, this difficulty spike is exclusive to the closing stages, so the unpleasantness thereof doesn’t hurt the game too much.
Probably my biggest dislike was the way the in-game-store operated. The store in itself didn’t bother me, rather, the fact that the power-ups you can buy were one-time-uses did. That means that spending gems nets you only an item (glove power-up or health pack) that you use, and then is immediately discarded. If you want more, you’ll have to keep pulling out your gems. Frankly, the difficulty spike towards the end of the game makes it very hard to stay away from heading to the store for some quick boosts, and a game should never promote a store that offers the “easy way out” like that.
Punching through buildings is fun. Smacking away incoming enemy air vehicles is very fun. Having parts of the game that are so hard they make you desperate to use the in-game-store is not fun. Fun still trumps minor annoyance, though; the same way that dinosaur fist trumps Eiffel Tower.