Rocket League Review

Blake Peterson
Rocket League Info

genre

  • Action

players

  • 1 - 8

Publisher

  • Psyonix

Developer

  • Psyonix

Release Date

  • 07/07/2015
  • Out Now

Platform

  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC
  • PS4
  • Xbox One

rating

You guys, seriously, Rocket League is awesome. The end. 

Okay, I guess I should write a bit more about it than that. Rocket League puts you in control of a rocket-powered car that you use to play soccer, without the annoying soccer rules like out-of-bounds or off-sides. Just the "smacking the ball into the goal" part. Power-ups around the pitch fill up your boost meter which depletes when you fire your rocket jets. Jumping gives you a starting point for acrobatics, and you can flip the car forward, backwards, or side-to-side. And that's what Rocket League is about in a nutshell.

How you hit the ball using the physics system matters. Hitting the ball with a flip forward is like a kick and also increases velocity. Hitting the ball while flipping backwards produces a "bicycle hit" knocking it back the other direction. Hitting it while rotating sideways bops it a bit more in that direction than letting it carom off the side. You can also bash your opponents into the ball, and if you score this way the game awards you points for a "pool shot." Why? Because Rocket League is that cool.

Let's get down to it, though. Car soccer is cool, but car soccer with rockets is fucking awesome! At first you may only use the rockets to get a burst of speed, or to punch the ball towards the goal (or away from it) a little faster than you otherwise would. For the most part, that seems to be how the rockets get used, but that's a fraction of what makes them fun. To start off with, when the rockets reach max speed you destroy any car on the opposing team you hit, which can be extremely satisfying when a competitor is racing you for the ball.

Rocket League's best not-so-secret is that the rockets let you fly, and you fly faster than you can drive. Jump and rotate your car in a specific direction and hit your rockets and you're off into flight. If you want to be carried farther, point your car mostly straight up after an initial boost and you can rise up above the field to hit a high-bounced ball or defend the goal. This is where Rocket League, quite frankly, gets the most ridiculously awesome. There's nothing like boosting, then jumping while you continue to boost, to punch the ball directly into the goal while in mid-air. 

Rocket League can be played solo but is best played with others. It has a single-player season mode that pairs you with A.I. teammates and opponents, but it feels stale compared to the intensity of co-op. Local co-op can accommodate up to four players and online can be one-on-one to four-on-four—which starts to get a little crazy (it's called "chaos" mode for a reason) due to the crowding of the pitch. It also has handy player training against AI for basics and different roles—goalie, striker, etc. 

Rocket League's customization is all cosmetic, so there's no gameplay advantage to changing your car, aside from some mild changes to hitboxes depending on if you play a car or a van. You can change colors, add decals, different kinds of boost smoke or ion streams, antenna balls, and hats. These are all unlockable through gameplay in multiplayer and the season mode. The lack of upgrades to the vehicles make it a level skill-based playing field. 


Rocket League was great back when I got to preview it, but having more time with it really made it clear just how much the developer Psyonix has managed to zero in on what's fun about the experience. It has a very limited set of modes currently, and the single-player feels a little flat; but the multiplayer is glorious, fast paced fun, with short explosive play sessions that you just want to keep coming back to, with plenty of amazing moments where you won't believe you—or another player—managed to make that shot. Rocket League is available for $19.99 on Steam and PS4, and is a July Playstation Plus free title, so be sure to grab it if you have a subscription!  
 

Code provided by publisher. Review based on PS4 version. Also available on PC.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

4.5
Rating
Box art - Rocket League
Soccer with rocket-powered cars
Let me repeat: Soccer. With. Rocket-Powered. Cars.
Not many modes
Existing modes are incredibly well-balanced
Single-player season mode is less interesting
Multiplayer is amazing
Excellent controls/responsiveness
Fun customization