Shoot The Rocks is a free online homage to Atari's classic 1979 arcade game, Asteroids. Asteroids is one of the earliest shoot-em-ups, and something of a genre-defining title in space shooters - along with other games of the era, like Space Invaders, obviously.
The aim of the game is to destroy all the asteroids floating (or hurtling) around the screen, whilst dodging the attacks of flying saucers, which you can also destroy for even more points.
Keyboard controls for desktop and laptop
|Left arrow / Z||-||Rotate ship left/anticlockwise|
|Right arrow / X||-||Rotate ship right/clockwise|
|Up arrow / N||-||Thrust|
|Space / M||-||Fire (hold to shoot continuously)|
|H / B||-||Hyperspace|
|F / V||-||Flip|
|S / C||-||Shield|
Tilt and touch controls for mobile and tablet
With mobile and tablet you need to rotate your device into landscape orientation in order to play (i.e., so it's like you're watching a TV show on it).
You TILT your device in order to steer the ship - Shoot The Rocks takes readings from your device's accelerometer in order to figure out where to point the ship.
To thrust and fire you TOUCH your device's screen. Rather than having buttons rendered on the screen you can touch anywhere on the LEFTHAND SIDE of the screen to THRUST, and anywhere on the RIGHTHAND SIDE of the screen to FIRE. You TOUCH the marked areas in the centre of the screen to jump through HYPERSPACE or activate your SHIELD.
Note that there is no explicit flip control on mobile or tablet since you can achieve the same effect simply by tilting your device in the opposite direction.
The following diagram illustrates these controls:
Friends and foes
This is your ship. You start with three lives and can earn an extra life every time you score 10,000 points.
You can use the keyboard to fly your ship, or tilt and touch controls on mobile or tablet. Have a look in the previous section for a full description of the controls.
You also have a hyperspace ability, which will randomly materialise your ship somewhere else on the screen when you use it. In theory it's a good way to get out of trouble fast but, honestly, it's just as likely to get you killed as to save your ass.
Your ship comes equipped with a shield, which can protect you from harm for a few seconds. Don't use it too much though, or you'll deplete your energy and destroy your ship.
Finally, on desktop or laptop anyway, you have the ability to do a 180. That's right: you can flip your ship round to face the opposite direction with a single keystroke. There's no equivalent on mobile or tablet because with these you can flip your ship round just by tilting your device in the opposite direction so there's no need for it.
These guys are the main enemy in the game. They're passive, and don't shoot back, but they're more than enough to cause plenty of trouble on their own.
They come in three sizes: large, medium, and small. They all start off large but, as you shoot them, they split into smaller asteroids, until eventually they're destroyed. When they split the smaller asteroids can shoot off in unpredictable directions so it's best not to get too close when shooting larger asteroids.
In both versions of the game the number of asteroids at the start of each level increases gradually as you move to higher levels. They also move faster.
After the first couple of levels in the standard game (but not the classic mode), some asteroids will take more than one hit to split or destroy. You'll be able to tell because they'll be a different colour to standard asteroids. When these harder to kill asteroids do split they give birth to smaller asteroids that are also harder to kill, so watch out. The proportion of asteroids requiring multiple hits to kill will increase as the game goes on.
|LARGE FLYING SAUCER|
No asteroids game is complete without the presence of flying saucers. This bad boy flies across the screen and shoots at you. Fortunately, it's fairly slow moving (at least on lower levels) and, being large, is relatively easy to hit. Navigation also isn't their strong point and they'll often collide with asteroids and destroy themselves.
When I say it shoots at you, what I really mean is it shoots. If you happen to be in the way of one of those shots, so much the better, but it doesn't really bother with aiming until you've got further into the game.
In the modern game variant these will occasionaly drop power-ups when destroyed: the classic/retro game doesn't have power-ups.
|SMALL FLYING SAUCER|
This is the sort of stunted evil twin of the large flying saucer. Like its more girthsome sibling, it flies across the screen and shoots at you, only this one really does shoot at you quite accurately, rather than at random. It also moves a lot faster and is harder to destroy on account of being smaller.
Again, these guys aren't the best when it comes to spatial awareness and, like the large flying saucers, will often collide with other objects and destroy themselves.
In the modern game variant there is an up side to these little terrors: like their larger brethren they sometimes drop power-ups when destroyed, so keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you.
Not something I've seen implemented this way in an asteroids game before, and unapologetically inspired by the star in Spacewar! - arguably the first real video game - these suckers drift across the screen exerting a gravitational pull on every object on the screen.
They come in three sizes: small, medium, and large, with the large being the most hazardous.
Unlike real black holes they won't destroy your ship, or any other object, directly, but they do suck everything towards them, which makes controlling your ship harder, and increases the chance of you colliding with something that will destroy. The large black hole in particular is to be avoided, since it's strong enough to capture your ship for as long as it's on screen, which makes you a sitting target for all the other debris it sucks in.
You do have one advantage against black holes, which is that your ship is fitted with inertial stabilisers, meaning that when it's still, it'll tend to stay still. These do only work so well though, and eventually you'll find yourself sucked towards the black hole if you're too close to it. Other powered craft also have this advantage. Both flying saucers and activated satellites also have inertial stabilisers, although those on the satellites are quite weak so they are more prone to getting sucked into black holes than either your ship or the flying saucers.
Black holes only appear in the modern game variant, not the retro/classic game variant.
Satellites drift passively around in space until they are activated. Activation happens either when they are shot, by you or by one of the flying saucers, or when they collide with an object, such as an asteroid, a flying saucer, or even your ship.
Once activated they split into three smaller satellites which actively chase your ship, and generally move a bit faster, so you'll want to make sure you keep your distance.
The smaller satellites also split when they're shot, this time into two very small and fast moving satellites that can quickly surround and destroy your ship if you don't keep your wits about you. These are very much worth destroying though because, as well as yielding at least 200 points (multiplied by the number of hits it took to destroy them), in the modern game variant they sometimes drop power-ups.
Something else not common in most asteroids games are power-ups, though they have appeared in some, such as Blasteroids. In Shoot The Rocks they are sometimes dropped when you destroy flying saucers or small satellites by shooting them. They are never dropped when asteroids are destroyed, nor are they dropped if flying saucers or satellites are destroyed by collisions with other objects, or if they're shot by other flying saucers.
In Shoot The Rocks, power-ups exclusively upgrade your firepower. They will either increase your rate of fire, increase the number of shots you fire at once (multiple shots are fired in a spread pattern), or both.
Your normal rate of fire is 720 rounds per minute, but power-ups can take this up to 3600 rounds per minute for short periods of time. In addition they can allow you to fire up to 5 shots simultaneously, which means you'll be putting out 18000 rounds per minute. This is a truly devastating amount of firepower that can put paid to even the most devastating asteroid and alien onslaughts.
Worth pointing out that top-end power-ups are uncommon though, so grab what you can, when you can.
Like almost any other asteroids game, scoring in Shoot The Rocks is fairly straightforward. There is one difference that you won't find in most other versions of Asteroids, which is that a multiplier is applied to the score based on how many shots it took to destroy whatever you just killed.
For example, large asteroids are usually worth 20 points, but if it took 2 shots to destroy the asteroid rather than the usual 1, a multipler of 2 would be applied. This would mean that in this case destroying the large asteroid would net you 40 points.
Pretty straightforward, right?
The table below details the base scores for all objects in Shoot The Rocks, which follow the lead of both the original Asteroids, and Asteroids Deluxe. See this video to get a look at the score table on an original Asteroids Deluxe arcade machine.
|LARGE FLYING SAUCER|
|SMALL FLYING SAUCER|
Take a look at our Shoot The Rocks Tips & Tricks page for a few hints on how to play better.
I hope you enjoy this take on Asteroids and do please feel free to get in touch with any feedback.
Welcome to Shoot The Rocks - a free Asteroids arcade game homage
SHOOT THE ROCKSFinal
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