As the second Xbox Live Arcade title from Bizarre Creations -- creators of Geometry Wars -- and the first Arcade title published by Electronic Arts, Boom Boom Rocket comes with considerable expectations attached to it. Geometry Wars is arguably the best title on Live Arcade and it's certainly one of the best values. It is also one of the most difficult. Boom Boom Rocket, by comparison, is a much simpler affair (for twice the price). Anyone who has played Dance Dance Revolution (or even Guitar Hero to a certain extent) will be instantly familiar with Boom Boom Rocket. As multicolored fireworks race towards a line at the top of the screen, it is the player's task to press the appropriate buttons as they pass the bar to the beat of the music. See, simple.
Boom Boom Rocket mixes up the formula slightly by sending fireworks in multiple directions, rather than straight up as in DDR. Half the challenge is seeing which firework will cross the line next. Thanks to the varying trajectories, the firework that appears on screen first won't necessarily be the first to cross the line. When multiple button combinations are flying all at once, it can get pretty hectic. Another edition to the DDR formula is the Bonus Run feature. Once your Bonus Bar is full, the Bonus Run can be activated with a pull of either trigger. This bumps the point multiplier up to x16 and makes your fireworks have more dazzling explosions. It's a simple addition, but it makes those moments a little more thrilling.
The trial version comes with two songs, "Rave New World" and "Hall of the Mountain Dude." "Rave New World" offers easy or medium difficulty while "Hall of the Mountain Dude" is only available in hard. Why exactly EA and Bizarre decided to limit difficulty selections we're not really sure, but there it is. It should be noted though that "Hall of the Mountain Dude," even on hard, was easily manageable after a few tries. Boom Boom Rocket allows the benefit of memorization, something that Geometry Wars does not, making it easier to beat higher levels of difficulty. In other words, once you memorize a song's inputs, the difficulty basically evaporates.
Now, the obvious question, is it worth 800 points? Honestly, what's in the trial version wasn't enough to make us plunk down the cash, though it's probably worth it for some. The accessibility factor alone will make it a worthwhile purchase for many, as even moderately skilled players -- non-gamers, spouses, etc. -- should be able to have some fun with Boom Boom Rocket. Like Geometry Wars, Boom Boom Rocket basically typifies the Live Arcade mantra: quick entertainment that's easy to pick up and play. At 400 points, we'd say buy it right now. As it stands, you'd best download the trial version and see for yourself.