Last year, a little game called Rocket League released on PlayStation 4, and was given away for free to those with a PlayStation Plus subscription as part of their monthly free games service. Since then, Rocket League has rocketed to the top of players’ most played and most enjoyed list of 2015. Despite being on PS4 and PC for the year, an Xbox One version was still to come, and after its announcement at The Game Awards in December, it is now finally here!
Rocket League is a straight up action sports title by Psyonix, giving the player a choice of vehicles and sending them out into dome-like football (soccer) arenas in teams of 2 to 4 cars per side. With a 5 minute time limit, try to score more goals than the other team. How that happens, is where it gets fun and exciting. Your cars can jump, double jump, twist, and flip forwards and backwards. Ever score from a bicycle kick in a car? Try it in this! It’s tough!
Dotted around the map are booster pickups, which fills up your boost meter. Using these boosts effectively can be the difference between counter-attacking and scoring a fantastic goal, or getting back to your goal line for a last second save. It’s all very exciting. Why not use the boost while in mid-air to leap up and get the ball before your opponent gets to it first? You can do that too! There are so many moves to get to grips with, and I only learned a new one last night through a friend, regarding the double jumps. Tap A and then press and hold it again to stay in the air longer. Until then, I was holding A, and then tapping it again. The things you learn!
What makes Rocket League exciting is that with every game you play and complete, you unlock something new. Whether that’s a new vehicle, a livery, an antenna, a hat or even your boost stream that flies out of your car, there are tonnes of customization options and they just keep on coming! Some additional accessories come from other titles, like the head of Abe from Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee or New ‘n’ Tasty, or the cake from Portal. There are loads of neat little cameos that you want to unlock them all. Oh, there’s also a Fallout 4 Vault Boy to unlock that wobbles around on your antenna. Brilliant!
Rocket League is made for online play. There’s a season mode which lets you take part in single player action with AI team mates, but they’re silly and they make mistakes. You can alter the difficulty and length of a season, but it’s a nice way to practice controlling your car and getting a few goals in. Taking it online is where the real fun is had. Competing alongside friends against other teams of friends or strangers can lead to hours and hours of laughs, screams, sweats and competitiveness.
Rocket League includes 18 different vehicles, including two Xbox exclusive cars in the form of a Halo Hogsticker, and the Gears of War Armadillo. There are also a bunch of Xbox related cosmetic items such as the Gears of War crimson omen antenna, Guilty Spark from Halo, and Fizzle from Sunset Overdrive. One DLC pack is available to buy at launch, and that’s the Back to the Future DeLorean for €1.99/£1.50 or so. It looks awesome too!
You can also set up private games which allows you to invite your party members into, or create a game that requires a name and password, such as ‘Rocket’. Tell your friends what time you’ll be on, set up the lobby and they can just join in using that word. One of the negative things I have found with Rocket League is that the connection to other players can get a bit wonky at times. Getting eight people into a group before playing can sometimes prove to be hairy, and you may need to restart your game. The password option above can help counter this. Another minor issue is how the max player count is in fact 8 players. It’s understandable, but with how popular the game has proven to be, having 16 people all wanting to play together just isn’t possible, and it would be great if there were larger arenas made for big teams like that, despite how messy and manic it may get!
As far as replayability goes, it’s rather high. I spent nearly 13 hours on it in the game’s first 24 hours on sale. I couldn’t get enough. Now, I’d probably manage 2-3 hours before I feel I need to play something else. You can fiddle with some modifiers such as making the ball more or less bouncy, gravity affecting cars in different ways, or turning the ball into a big cube. At the end of the day, it’s still the same game over and over, but still hilarious and fun.
At the time of writing, Rocket League’s developer has confirmed on Twitter that next week, the Xbox One version will see the ice hockey map and puck joining the playlists. What other content comes, I don’t know yet, but I’m still enjoying the game as we speak, and for the entry fee of only £15, €20, $20, you won’t find a better bang for your buck!
We tend not to give review scores here on 4-One, but if we were to give Rocket League a score, we’d give it 15 out of 11. Buy it today, you won’t regret it!