A new Chu Chu Rocket! game was quietly announced today, in a press release from Apple detailing its new Apple Arcade subscription service. It’s called ChuChu Rocket! Universe, and we need to talk about it.
As of right now, we don’t know a ton about the game. According to Apple’s press release, “‘ChuChu Rocket! Universe‘ explodes as Sega launches the beloved ChuChus into a universe of strange and wonderful planets with over 100 mind-bending puzzles.” There’s also the above screenshot, as well as the below (and bizarrely silent) teaser video Sega tweeted this afternoon:
20 years later… it’s time to go ChuChu crazy all over again! ????????????
— SEGA (@SEGA) September 10, 2019
Based on this brief clip, it seems that Sega is taking the classic ChuChu Rocket! formula — guiding the adorable and blameless ChuChus to their rockets while avoiding the nefarious feline KapuKapus — and expanding on it with larger and more dynamic play fields. It’s encouraging to hear that ChuChu Rocket! Universe will retain some form of multiplayer, since the original’s online multiplayer modes made it the groundbreaking success that it was. No word yet on whether ChuChu Rocket! Universe will support any of the puzzle creation/sharing mechanics that the original had, though it seems like those features would be way less cumbersome to implement in this day and age.
Apple Arcade, which costs $5 per month after a one month free trial, launches alongside iOS 13 next Thursday, Sept. 19, with ChuChu Rocket! Universe (and about 100 other games) in tow. Part of Apple Arcade’s whole deal is that its games work on most any Apple device, but only the iPhone is supported at launch: iPads and AppleTVs get Apple Arcade on Sept. 30, while computers running macOS get it sometime in October.
So, am I excited for new ChuChu Rocket!? Yes, absolutely. I am firmly in camp “Revive Every Abandoned Sega Dreamcast Property™” and will be until the day I die. But am I excited for new ChuChu Rocket! like this? Briefly mentioned in a press release, and not given even one moment of time on Apple’s main stage? Tweeted with just eight seconds of footage, without music or a logo or anything, but a single day after the Dreamcast’s 20th anniversary? Eternally locked behind a subscription paywall within the Apple ecosystem? Dear readers, I am not excited.
My iPhone 6S, at full charge, can play a 3D game for maybe 13 minutes before I get a 10 percent battery warning. It just doesn’t work. And yes, I know the iPhone 6S is a very old phone, but new iPhones cost $700 at minimum. Do I look like I have $700 to spend on a phone? (This is what I look like, for reference.)
I do, however, have the computer that I use for work, which is capable of performing video game-related tasks, as well as a Nintendo Switch, which is the ideal platform for every action/puzzle video game. Without a modern Sega console to call home, either of these locations would be perfect for a new ChuChu Rocket! game, and neither would require a subscription to a monthly service that I cannot practically use.
We don’t know if ChuChu Rocket! Universe‘s Apple Arcade exclusivity is permanent, or what relationship Apple and Sega forged during the development of this title. It’s highly possible that Apple contributed some amount of capital to finance the game’s production, which may have come with strings attached that limit Sega’s ability to port Universe to other platforms. But in the unlikely event that this isn’t the case, it would be in Sega’s best interest to put the game on as many compatible platforms as possible. We’ll just have to see how everything shakes out.