Developer: Psyonix & Panic Button Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Sports, Racing & Action
Release Date: 14th of November, 2017 (Worldwide)
Get ready for what is probably the most anticipated third-party indie title to come to the Nintendo Switch. It mixes three of man’s most favourite things; Cars, Football and Video games and creates the fun and extremely addictive game that is… Rocket League!
Created by Psyonix back in 2015, Rocket League became extremely popular as it’s well-created vehicle mechanics and physics engine made up a game that doesn’t look like it should but does and does it so well that it is a wonder why it has never been done before, in video games anyway, we all know Top Gear have had a go at it with real cars and an oversized football but they didn’t have crazy aero-acrobatics or speed boosts or explosions that really add impact like it does in Rocket League.
As far as story goes, there really isn’t one. In a not so distant future, a motor sport involving cars and a large round explosive sphere has become extremely popular and you get to take part by choosing a car that takes your fancy, customize it as much as you want with wheels, bodywork texture, flags and even hats. After customizing your vehicle, you can then put your skills to the test and pedal to the mettle as you battle it out against other cars to win possession of the ball and smash it into the other team’s net.
There are various modes of play which include local and online. Online allows you to play against other players in standard or ranked matches around the world and now with the inclusion of cross-platform play, you can now play with and against gamers around the world on other consoles or PC too. For offline play, you can play exhibition mode with up to 4 friends in local matches using a single Joy-con and you can either play with or against each other. There is also a tournament mode in that you play against several teams in a season in order to make the play-offs. You will then have to go up against 3 more teams before you get the chance to take home the trophy.
The real fun of the game of course, is playing multiplayer and with it being multiplayer in table-top mode as well as TV- mode, well the opportunities to play Rocket League on the go just makes the game so much more accessible. If you get bored of the standard Soccer game mode, you can try your hand at the other game modes which are based on basketball and ice hockey. There are also a couple more game modes that have their own unique features but we will let you discover them on your own.
It has to be said that this is one beautiful game, both graphically and mechanically. The colours, the textures, the different boost effects and the mid-air barrel rolls. The is just so much going on at any one time and though there are frame-rate drops, there are definite drops in resolution at times. I noticed it a few times during the tutorial when you have to fly your car through the air. It was tasking and when I failed to hit the ball, the resolution dropped exponentially. It didn’t happen again afterwards so it may have just been a rendering bug or maybe my Switch was getting hot at the time.
The controls are relatively straightforward as with any racing game. There is an acceleration button, brake, boost and the added extra of a jump button. The controls work well whilst in handheld mode or with the Joy-Con grip but it can be difficult to keep the SR button pressed down for long periods of time on a single Joy-Con as it starts to slip in your hand and your car will start decelerating because of this. You can however, remap the controls to any button you prefer, which can help make the game a bit more comfortable when playing with the small Joy-Cons.
All the vehicles look incredible to play and the addition of the Mario & Luigi NSR cars and Samus’ Gunship which is unlockable in-game, just add to the expansive roster of vehicles available. That isn’t all though as their are DLC cars you can download separately which include the likes of the DeLorean Time Machine from Back To The Future, the Batmobile from Batman Vs. Superman, Several cars from the Fast & Furious Franchise. It makes playing all the more fun and entertaining and the special effects of each car just accentuate their characteristics. The DeLorean for example, has the twin fire trail coming off the tires when boosting and the Mario & Luigi NSR have the Super Mario jump sound when you leap off the ground. These little touches make it so much more special and that it just shows the attention to detail that the designers and developers had when making this game.
One thing I have noticed though that may have been overlooked is that sometimes the AI seem to forget which team they are on as I have had on a few occasions, AI players on my team start beelining the ball towards our own goal. Another instance is the opposing team will do the same thing or help push the ball into their own goal. I don’t know if this is a technical error or a bug but it is somewhat amusing to see your opponents change sides halfway through a game and start helping you score goals against their own team.
If you have been looking for a game that could rock Mario Kart 8 Deluxe off of its pretty high pillar, Rocket League just the might to do the trick. Fun, addictive, and incredibly entertaining, it really does feel right at home on the Nintendo Switch, which isn’t bad for a game that came out in 2015. It has taken two years to come to a Nintendo console but the wait has certainly been worth it. Even my girlfriend enjoyed the game and she doesn’t even like cars or football, but it’s her that keeps nagging me if we can play it again. I have to say Psyonix, You really are on to a winner here and I look forward to seeing what you bring to the game next. How about the Turtle Wagon or Bumblebee from Transformers?
The Verdict: 9/10
*Review Key Provided By Psyonix