ReviewsReview: Boris the Rocket

Review: Boris the Rocket

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Protecting your country is not a job, but a way of life. People will sacrifice their freedom to keep their land safe, and these individuals are heroes. If you had the chance to step up and be counted, would you? How about if it was forced upon you for a minor indiscretion, how would you feel then? Boris the Rocket looks at the latter option, and what it means to put your motherland before everything else.

Developed by toR Studio and published by Big Way Games, this adventure simulator title will have you; laughing, screaming, and stressing as matters get out of hand. Basic logic skills, a great memory, and good planning are all key to surviving the icy Russian environment. If the cold doesn’t kill you, the deadly missiles falling from the sky will! Follow your instructions and protect the honour of your motherland.

Boris the Rocket soon gets out of hand.

Several countries in the world don’t like you expressing your feelings. North Korea and Russia are the two lead contenders. So when Boris bad-mouthed the Russian government, he knew the KGB would knock on his door sooner, rather than later. Arrested, and given little choice, he agrees to man a missile defence station, protecting the land he “loves” from hostile attacks.

It all seems simple, right? Wrong! You are but one man, and you are expected to complete every task alone. Man the radar, load the missiles, check the details, destroy the targets, make ammunition, the list goes on. At the start, it’s hectic but manageable. Later on, it becomes a stressful endeavour, and many dials, details, and problems arise. You must deal with the issues before the bunker blows up.

With limited visibility to the dangers you must overcome, this is a game of luck, skill, and timing. Each day begins with instructions, a parcel of goodies, and a new challenge. The cold and emotionless voice expresses its gratitude and tells you to get on and work. It has a sense of Groundhog Day as the structure is repetitive. But, don’t fear, you’ll be chasing your tail too much to tire of the action.

So many dials.

So many instructions to master and dials to monitor.

Life as a rocket engineer would never be easy, but this is ridiculous. Different speeds, colours, distances and altitudes have to be noted. Labels on the missiles denote its sender, and you quickly discover that some are from friends and other foes. You fear shooting the wrong projectile, as you don’t want more enemies. So, it takes a razor-sharp focus, a memory like an elephant, and a high level of planning to succeed.

Don’t forget to add in the side quests, the never-ending sirens, and the requirements to make more rockets. This is a game that doesn’t want you to relax, you must be alert throughout as failure is only moments away. I loved its high-pressure approach but rued my luck repeatedly as I forgot which button to press, ran out of ammo, and messed up my role in maintaining the bunker.

Though defending your metal house is key, this isn’t the only objective to complete. You must search the facility and surrounding areas for clues to help find items that will aid you on your journey. Brew Vodka, upgrade facilities, use the mine for resources, and build a super rocket to put Russia back on the map. Few of the tasks are completed in one day, and you must create a plan and stick to it. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, and you usually go off on a tangent as you explore the icy tundra.

The freezing cold and unwanted visitors.

You shouldn’t only fear the missiles falling from the sky. No, there are far greater dangers closer to home. Boris must work in harsh conditions, whilst walking through ice storms to collect items, searching for his daily parcels, or traversing from bunker to bunker. There is a high possibility that you will freeze as you walk from one area to the next. You must be quick, or dress appropriately, either way, it’s another challenging area to monitor.

Alongside this, you are not alone. Shock horror, other animals live in the woods you call home. At some point, you may come nose to snout with these beasts. Unsurprisingly, a plump, moustached Russian man looks to be a hearty meal. So, it’s advised, where possible to stay away from the wildlife for your safety.

Delicious food to keep you going.

Typically Soviet in an icy paradise.

If you were to picture a stereotypical Cold War Soviet scene, what would you see? Mountains of concrete, Vodka, old-school electronics, and a beautifully icy world. Boris the Rocket ticks all these clichéd images and delivers them in a tongue-in-cheek manner. You’ll chuckle as you explore, and the moments of lighthearted relief help to ease the immense amounts of pressure you’ll feel.

Viewed from a first-person perspective, you see a colourful, cold, and industrial world laid out before you. It’s an odd mix, but I loved it. Now, don’t come into this expecting the highest quality graphics, because you will be disappointed. The presentation is good, but it’s a bit rough in places. You need not worry, though, as you will run around like a headless chicken, with no time to look at every object you pass.

What I enjoyed, however, was the excellent typical Russian soundtrack. An array of songs plays out across each working day, giving you the energy and focus to power through your tasks. I laughed when I heard the Tetris music, and any moment that Boris spoke. His witty one-liners described the dangers he was facing, but I couldn’t help but chuckle every time. The sound effects were also good and matched any action you undertook; the delightful noise of footsteps crunching in the snow, cooking food, listening to the siren wailing, and more.

The daily parcel for being a good boy.

Thank goodness for easy controls.

With so much madness, and Boris’ workload going from bad to worse, this could have been a nightmare to play. Luckily, the controls as easy to pick up and understand. A small tutorial is offered at the start of the game, but this still leaves a few questions unanswered. A little trial and error during the first few days will allow you to become an expert at firing missiles. A helpful notebook is at your disposal, and for the moments that your mind goes blank, you may refer to it for helpful tips.

Boris the Rocket is addictive. There is something satisfactory about blowing enemy missiles out of the sky, and Boris gets to do this every day. With a core aim to focus on, and many side quests to try, there is a lot to do to complete this title. A large achievement list will be difficult to finish, and I can’t see many hitting the 100% status. You’ll search for; Matryoshka Dolls, food to cook, supplies to make missiles, and a bear to feed vodka. It’s silly, maddening, and will demand you return to play.

Boris the Rocket took me by surprise.

When I started Boris the Rocket, I didn’t know what to expect! I hoped for a fun game that would keep me playing for a short time. What I found was a complex title that challenges you throughout. It doesn’t have a triple-A presentation, but it doesn’t need to. The gameplay is great, the game’s difficulty increases on a gradual and fair curve, and you’ll laugh throughout. A title that is likely to go under the radar for a lot of gamers, but you shouldn’t let this slip you by. I was glad I played it and recommend you buy a copy here! You need to atone for your despicable behaviour, so why not become the best missile defence engineer Russia has ever seen?

SUMMARY

Boris the Rocket is a hectic puzzle strategy game where planning and logical thinking is a must. Complete your day to day tasks, while searching the surrounding icy tundra. Stay calm, focus on the task at hand, and blow the enemy missiles from the sky.

+ Brilliantly Soviet by design.
+ Wonderful audio.
+ Easy to control.
+ Lots of replay value.
+ Boris will amuse you.
- It can overwhelm you quickly.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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