Also On: PS4
Publisher: Depth First Games
Developer: Depth First Games
I feel like Rally Copters could've come out at any point in the last thirty years. Between its old-school graphics and its simple gameplay, it's the kind of game that could just as easily have been played with a joystick on a wood-paneled CRT TV as it is can be on Sony's eighth-gen console or most recent handheld.
You don't have to look very hard to see why it fits in just as well on the Vita and the PS4 as it would've on an old Atari, either. That aforementioned "simple gameplay" captures it in a nutshell, but at the same time only barely skims the surface of what makes Rally Copters feel so timeless. The whole game consists of level after level of piloting your helicopter from point A to point B…and that's it. There are no complicated control schemes to learn, and no intricate plots to follow — it's just the kind of straightforward, uncomplicated gameplay that was present at the dawn of gaming.
Of course, like those primitive games, the joy in Rally Copters comes from seeing how its developers build on their core idea without making things significantly more complex. They do so in this case by, unsurprisingly, making the journey from A to B a little more winding each time, or by adding in enemies here and there, or by placing checkpoints right in the middle of harm's way. There are no long jump-sized leaps in difficulty, but they still know how to make things incrementally more difficult each time.
Rally Copters' only drawback can be found in those simple controls: every so often, it feels like the game asks you to be a little more precise than is possible. It's infrequent, but infrequency won't matter much to you when you're getting smashed to bits for the dozenth time as you try and fly between alternating smashing blocks that offer only the smallest window of time during which you can fly through. To the game's credit, however, such impossible-seeming moments are few and far between. Rally Copters wants to keep you playing, and gets that trying to kill you at every step of the way probably isn't the best way to do that.
What is the best way to do that, though, is offering enjoyable gameplay in an attractive package, and that's precisely what Rally Copters offers. It won't offer you a glimpse into the future of gaming or anything, but at the very least, it'll remind you that sometimes, those old games knew what they were doing.