Rocket League is the sequel to the rather haphazardly named Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, which is a name we won’t be typing again. It brings the same combination of soccer and vehicular mayhem to the player, only this time the graphics and physics engines have been touched up a little. Does it make a difference? Let’s find out.
The Single Player Experience
Before delving into the multiplayer action that really makes up the bulk of what Rocket League has to offer, most players will at least want to get to grips with things by playing on their own for a while. A handy tutorial shows you the basics of the game and things honestly don’t get too much more complex from there.
The key to playing well is getting a hang of the physics system, learning when to hang back and when to jump or boost yourself forward. Unfortunately, while the single player mode is best for this task, it is also not quite interesting enough to hold a player’s attention for too long.
There is a handy little season mode, which offers some extra replayability, but the fact that none of the cars really has a discernible personality prevents the player from caring too much about the results beyond simply saying they were able to win a match. It’s serviceable, and there are likely to be a few players that really get into it, but the game is much stronger in other areas.
A Multiplayer Mecca
Of course, the main appeal of a game like Rocket League is the multiplayer modes, which are offered up in both local and online varieties.
The online matchmaking is generally fine, though there may be the occasional struggle to get a game so early in the title’s PS4 life. Still, given that it’s free on PSN Plus for UK gamers at the moment that is likely to change fairly quickly.
However, the game really comes into its own when you get a few friends around and play it together. When played locally, Rocket League harkens back to classic multiplayer games of old, such as Micro Machines, that can pull anybody in with their simple gameplay while also offering frenetic action that is sure to lead to many laughs and maybe the odd screamed obscenity.
In fact, it is almost recommended that you try not to develop your skills too much, or at least keep yourself on a level footing with the pals that you invite around. This way you can all enjoy the game, instead of having to deal with that one guy who knows all of the tricks, making for much better matches.
As you would expect from an independently produced game, the graphics are decent without ever being spectacular.
It’s the physics engine that is the star of the show here, allowing for realistic movements of the ball when contact is made, in addition to making the cars so much fun to control. It’s all pretty simple stuff on the surface, but it’s clear that a lot of work has gone into making the game play well.
The Final Word
Rocket Player is a game that simply has to be played with friends. Together, you will have an absolute blast, but the single player mode simply doesn’t carry enough depth to keep most playing for too long. As such, the game is recommended as long as you know a few people that are willing to play it with you.
Lee Price is a freelance writer and general miscreant who enjoys video games, movies and making dreary situations better by adding copious amounts of alcohol. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Lee2112 to read his random musings.