Published on October 20th, 2016 | by Dad
3, 2, 1 and we are off! 4 cars speed towards the centre-spot of the footballesque arena in an attempt to be the first to strike the ball. Adrenalin is flowing as the battle to smash the ball into the opponent’s goal commences. Rocket League, by Psyonix, has been around on the PS4 and Windows since 2015, its predecessor being the catchingly titled “Super Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars”. The intense fusion of football and destruction derby makes for a fun game either by yourself or as Morgan puts it “with drivers from across the world on your couch!”
Like many players out there, we have been playing Rocket League since it featured as one of Playstation Plus’s free games back in July 2015, something that has helped Psyonix gain a large fan base. The vast range of vehicles, choices of paintwork type, wheels, aerials, boost and decals that are unlocked from playing matches give for a fun amount of customisation that can be tweaked via the garage option.
The ability of playing online against opponents with upto four players locally ensures that you can play as a team (or as rivals) while all being in the same room. The fast colourful flowing game play, pulsing music and stadium sound effects create a very immersing experience. Driving on the ground is all well and good however racing through the air with flames shooting out from behind you while timing a superb strike to put the ball into the goal is way more exciting!!
Game modes are not restricted just to football, there are other game modes such as “Snow Day” whereby you race across an icy arena, knocking a large puck about. The cars are slightly harder to control and the puck slides up the sides of the arena however the lack of bounce in the puck makes for a refreshing challenge when playing a match, adding to the longevity of the game.
Another game mode, “Hoops” is where, yes you can guess the next bit, a basket ball has to be dunked into a goal located above the ground (really hard to score!!) We found that in this mode you had to be a lot more tactical with how you strike the ball although the ability for the opponent to race inside the hoop and jump in the air to defend the dunk was a brilliant, if not frustrating feature!
The latest game mode that has been recently released is “Rumble” and quite simply, it is amazing. Here the concept of the original rocket league game mode is entwined with a fantastic feature. Powerups!!
From the initial kick off you each have a 10 second counter appear that once depleted enables a random power up feature to be used. This is on top of your usual turbo pickups that are dotted about the arenas. The diverse range of tactical advantages are launched on your command, timing is everything and a clever deployment can change the game in seconds. Freezing the ball in mid air, firing grapple hooks that launch your vehicle into the ball, swapping places with your opponent, lassoing and magnetising the ball are just some of the action packed features available. Caiden’s favourite was the punch power up that enabled him to demolition any nearby opponent vehicle and smash the ball into the goal. As I watched my car disappear into a fireball he gave the game away to who carried out this despicable crime by shouting “I got you dad!! hahahaha”
Once you have mastered all of the game modes there is also a mutator option whereby you can tweak a lot of the Rocket league variables from match length, amount of goals to score all the way through to the gravity settings, size of the ball, amount of turbo, etc. It is surprising how tweaking the settings can completely change the strategy, game play and add even more fun to what is already an awesome well developed piece of entertainment.
Psyonix keep steadily releasing more content, most is mainly free such as the Rumble game mode and the brand new aquarium stadium whereby you play in an encapsulated glass arena deep in the ocean while sharks and schools of fish swarm all around you. Paid content has so far only been for additional vehicles and exclusive NBA flags, saying that we have bought some of the car packs as the children love the “Back to the Future” films and to celebrate the recent passing of the future date, Psyonix released a delorean car complete with flaming tyre tracks when the turbo was initiated. It had to be done!!
My children love Rocket League as they can all play together, challenge other people and no 2 matches are ever the same. The ability to save replays of outstanding goals, numerous in game unlocks and trophies to collect keep them coming back for more as there is so much to achieve.