Rubble Trouble (New York)
Do you ever get the impression that construction crews are having way more fun than they let on? That maybe after you round the corner they throw down their hoagies and cold coffee, toss safety concerns to the wind, and break out the bombing runs and the limbo? Nitrome thinks so too, and the result is Rubble Trouble, a physics based game of that most cherished of pastimes; blowin' junk up.
Similar to Demolition City in concept, the goal is to destroy enough of a structure on each level to make a certain amount of cash for your hard work. You'll have a variety of tools at your disposal to get the job done. Some things, like nitro, can just be clicked into place wherever you want them and they'll explode automatically. Others, such as the missiles you'll find (yes, found missiles), actually need to be guided to their destination with the mouse. Certain tools are more expensive than others, so you'll have a limited number of uses for them. Fail to meet the requirements for a level within the time frame or before running out of explosives and you'll have to start the level over. If you need a break, tap [P] to pause. To restart a level if you see failure looming on the horizon, tap [R].
Certain building materials are sturdier than others and will require specific tools to destroy in one shot, while others behave in different ways when an explosion is introduced. Don't think you can just start flinging around explosives like Mardi Gras beads, as certain levels will have conditions designed to put a bit of restraint into your destructive tendencies. Think you can destroy a teetering tower without causing damage to its surroundings? How about using nitro to deliver a stranded coworker safely to the ground? What do you mean, "safety regulations"? We don't need no steekeeng safety regulations! Bombs away!
Analysis: Saying that Nitrome designs a good looking game is a bit like stating that tidal waves are damp, or taunting a pitbull is a bad idea. Rubble Trouble is no exception with the trademark crisp visuals and quirky characters that make every game such a pleasure to look at. You've got a variety of "found" tools at your disposal, fragile melon shops to avoid, oddball crew members, and the end result is a lot like what one imagines a construction company run by the Mythbusters would be like if they stopped worrying about safety. Which is to say, over the top firepower resulting in massive property damage, followed by boyish giggling and high fives all 'round.
The game keeps itself from degenerating into a mindless blast-fest with the restrictions that some levels impose. The time limit is something to keep your eye on for your score's sake, but it doesn't pose an issue itself. The problem is that not every object behaves like it should. Chief offender is the wrecking ball, which behaves like a yo-yo on an elastic rather than a massive tool of destruction, but you'll also occasionally see heavy buildings held aloft by a single surviving column of materials as long as no damage was done to it. I'm fairly certain that if this was the way real construction behaved, I would have gotten a much better grade in my high school engineering class.
If you can forgive these shortcomings, Rubble Trouble is a fun and occasionally tricky little physics puzzle with that turns construction work into a noble, monocle-wearing calling. The game's 30 levels likely won't consume your entire day, but it's an afternoon of explosive fun for those of you who need a bit more destruction in your day. Which is probably all of you.