I’m not much of a sports fan, I’ll admit. I get the feeling that when you’ve grown up gaming, a bunch of guys kicking or throwing a ball around just can’t quite compare. Developers Psyonix knew this and clearly had me in mind when they rolled out the amazingly-titled Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars for the PS3 way back in 2008, and they addressed it by taking Soccer and adding the titular vehicles into the mix. It was fantastic, especially if you considered the amazing theme song, and Psyonix looks like they’re going for another goal with Rocket League. I was lucky enough to give the game’s beta a spin (or should that be drive?) and happy to report it’s certainly got the same rocket-powered vehicular charm.
Rocket League, like SARPBC before it, is essentially soccer played while driving around squirrely little rocket cars. You’ve got a ball, a car and a couple goals, with your objective being to do the obvious while preventing the other team from doing the same. The game’s various modes adjust the size of each team, ranging from one-on-one duels to an insane four-on-four mode where cars rocket and explode all over the place.
Your Battle-Car’s a pretty nimble thing, capable of driving all over the place. Using your supply of rocket boost, you can impose your will on the ground, the walls and even the ceiling. Admittedly, the ceiling won’t accept your mastery for very long, and doing so isn’t especially useful, but the option’s there! What’s more, your ride can jump and even double-jump. Pressing a direction after the first jump turns the second into a quick dodge, allowing you to push forward to nab the ball or avoid oncoming Battle-Cars.
This mobility transforms Rocket League from “Soccer with cars” to “IT’S MIDNIGHT WHY HAVEN’T I GONE TO BED YET.” Once you get the hang of controlling your vehicle, you can perform some pretty death-defying stunts that help you grab the ball and keep it away from opponents. It’s the epitome of the “easy to learn, but hard to master” gameplay that defines some of the most addictive games.
Rocket League isn’t available for public consumption just yet, and unfortunately I can’t throw out a release date other than “this summer.” Still, fans of SARPBC and fans of, well, good old-fashioned explosive fun should keep their eyes out for this one. The beta I experienced was on the PlayStation 4, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one parked in other platforms’ lots soon enough. It’s a great time that’s far more entertaining than the simple concept might suggest. The full release will offer car customization and a season mode on top of the soul-consuming multiplayer experience, so stay tuned and keep those engines running.