Top 100 SNES Review: #64 – Pocky and Rocky (1992)

What Just Happened?

P & R is weird and hectic. Come for the colorful, far-east imagination, stay to see the bizarre, then leave as soon as possible.

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Pocky and Rocky transversing the mountainside.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #64/100
Developer: Natsume
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

It’s almost been 6 months since I’ve seen a Tanooki (Super Mario Bros. 3 Review).

Over that period of time, I’ve lived in another state for 2 months, wrote 50 blog posts, had someone squat in my subleased apartment using old Virginia common law, taught myself guitar posting videos on instagram, and reengaged with the Viola. Will Pocky and Rocky serve as a guide post for the future, making such an impact as to recall events in between?

Probably not. This game is a bit of mindless fun, but nothing really pulls you in.

[plot.] Pocky, a young shrine maiden, is visited by Rocky the Tanooki who is part of a gang of Nopino Goblins (though he looks nothing like his other tribe members). Unfortunately, all the goblins are going crazy and they attack Pocky & Rocky. After knocking them out they are freed from their spell, and P & R have to discover who is putting people into a trance.

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Our two protagonists, including Rocky dealing with a loose contact.

[concept.] Projectiles and lots of them. In what amounts to a side-scrolling, space shooter, P & R replaces Starcraft with a maiden and raccoon that uses cards and leaves instead of lasers.  You a have a health bar, so at least can take several hits before losing a life. You have some other moves available: one where you scoot around on the ground to avoid enemy fire and a melee attack that acts as both a shield and attack.

[gameplay.] This game can be very unsatisfying. Since there are so many enemies that respawn, there is no real reward for playing well. There are multiple times where the “run like hell” tactic works better than hunkering down and trying to actually destroy enemies while dodging. Near the later parts of the game, my friend and I would get fed up trying to play the “right way” and would sprint/dive to a safe zone.

I guess it could be said we shouldn’t take advantage of such an opportunity, but I also don’t like games that really force you into such a situation. We also learned that if you held onto your bombs, you could just light up the bosses and mow through them. So our play through consisted of hoarding bombs and speed running past enemies.

This led to us progressing even if it was ultimately unsatisfying. The only thing that kept us going was how quirky the game was — you never quite knew what you would see next. You might face a bamboo tree, an octopus serpent,  or a vampire. At one point, I got a special upgrade where I rode a jumping dog around the screen which made me very happy.

This game was just a speed run through a contemporary art exhibit. Given how the gameplay and concept come together, there was not much incentive to do it any other way. Get in and get out of this one my friends.

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