Possibly the King of puzzle games. ChuChu Rocket combines reactions and strategy to create the ultimate game of cat and mouse. Like every great puzzle game, its simplicity is its strength – use arrows to guide your mice into rockets, avoiding the cats and holes.
It was also the first ever online console game in Europe (Sega having already been first in America and Japan with the Saturn!) with frantic four-player arrow-placing aplenty. Even offline there’s much skulduggery to be had, with Kapu Kapu terrorising your opponents’ rockets and devouring whole strings of mice headed towards the safety of the Moon. Refreshingly there’s also a co-operative mode that lets you rebuild some of that broken trust.
The GameBoy Advance version was perfectly suited to the format, despite the loss of online play. Compensating for it however were 5,000 puzzles created by players from all over the world, although to solve them all would need a MENSA-level IQ and a life sentence. There’s also a cat and mouse sprite editor that lets you create your own characters, which I’m sure led to many ChuChu Rockets around the world becoming KnobKnob Rocket. I used mine to lead Sonics away from Robotniks, of course.
When the DS was announced, Sega revealed that Nintendo had specifically requested a touch screen version of ChuChu Rocket, which is why I’m so amazed it hasn’t happened yet, nearly four years down the line. It’s perfectly suited to the handheld – online play, a touch screen interface to place arrows and with double screens you could even do two-player on a single machine. If not a DS version, surely Xbox Live Arcade would give these little mice a good home? I know you’re reading, Sega!