Rocket League on the Nintendo Switch is a match made in heaven. Scaling down the hugely popular car soccer game into an experience you can take with you on your morning commute, this is an excellent transition from big to small screen that has suffered only a few minor hiccups along the way.
While Rocket League was hardly a technical powerhouse, the Switch’s portability meant that Panic Button — the same studio that handled the successful Doom Switch port, and who have helped Psyonix out with their port here — needed to downgrade the game in certain areas in order to retain the same fluidity present in its other versions. This means that you’ll see some jagged edges, along with pixelated textures when the other cars drift off into the distance, all in aid of ensuring it runs the same as its PS4, Xbox One and PC peers.
Performance is key
Rocket League Switch running at a solid 60 FPS makes these changes forgivable, and I have experienced zero frame dips while playing, which is hugely beneficial considering that Switch players will be in the same pool as Xbox One / PC players thanks to the game’s cross-play functionality. Playing Rocket League on the Switch does have certain natural disadvantages, such as the Joy-Cons not exactly being a solid comparison to an Xbox One controller or Xbox 360 controller on PC, and I found myself faring much better when teaming up against other Switch players rather than those on different platforms. You can still play the game in Docked mode and hook up a Pro Controller, though obviously the main hook of Rocket League Switch is being able to play it on the go, so those with a more competitive edge may be left a little frustrated when doing so.
While the game still runs like a dream both in Handheld and Docked mode, its visual imperfections stand out more in the latter option. Textures appear more blurred on your TV, while those jagged edges become more prominent and the cars can become a blur of primary colors. If you own Rocket League on a different platform and don’t really make much use of your Switch’s portability, then these downgrades mean that this isn’t a particularly enticing package outside of being able to play it on a train.
However, Psyonix has added some Switch-specific changes outside of making it portable. There are three exclusive Nintendo-themed cars, with Mario, Luigi and Samus all receiving their own vehicles. Considering the wealth of iconic franchises at Nintendo’s disposal, I’d have liked to have seen more of these, but the unique sound and visual effects that complement each car are a fun addition. Additionally, players can snap off the Joy-Cons and play the game in Tabletop mode with a friend, with them working surprisingly well as individual controllers.
Should you buy Rocket League Switch?
You’ll see the same bevy of modes that are featured in the other versions of the game, from your standard competitive modes through to its sports modes such as Hoops, Snow Day and Rocket Labs. Those who have played Rocket League will know exactly what they’re getting themselves into, while those who haven’t will have the benefit of playing a game that has seen various updates since its initial 2015 release, including a ton of new arenas, game modes and customization options.
Rocket League is a fast, frenetic and addictive game, and playing it while on the move ensures that you won’t feel compelled to put it down until your Switch’s battery runs out. While this isn’t the best-looking port, its smooth and stable performance makes up for it, and being able to play it on the move is a great twist on a winning formula.