Shoot The Rocks is a free online homage to Atari's classic 1979 arcade game, Asteroids. 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
P-Pause game

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:

Instructions showing how to control Space Rawks! on phones and tablets.

Friends and foes

Shoot The Rocks player shipPLAYER SHIP

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.

A large asteroid - shooting it will destroy it but give birth to two smaller offspringASTEROID

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.

A large flying saucer - slow moving and shoots like a storm trooperLARGE FLYING SAUCER

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.

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.

A large flying saucer - fast moving, and rather a crack shotSMALL 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, rather than at random. It also moves a lot faster and is harder to shoot back on account of being smaller.

The cannon's defensive homing mines, which will chase you around.BLACK HOLE

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.

More information:

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

Unlike almost all web-based games in the past, which used Flash,'s games use HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS to allow maximum device compatibility with desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Whilst you may not be familiar with HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS, what we hope you will understand is that sadly our games WILL NOT RUN with JavaScript disabled.

Please enable JavaScript in order to play. If you don't know how to do this, please refer to the relevant page below for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser:

Once you've enabled JavaScript you'll be able to play Star Citadel online for FREE across all your devices.

Shoot The Rocks


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