Well-Executed Nonsense

I lost an entire day this weekend to Rocket League. If you’re not familiar, it’s soccer-like, only you’re driving around in ridiculous cars with rocket boosters. It’s a completely nonsense premise that sounds like the kind of idea a bunch of kids would come up with– “oh man, what if we played soccer but IN CARS but also WITH EXPLOSIONS and the cars COULD FLY?! WOULDN’T THAT BE AWESOME?”


The game defies a no-caps explanation. It gleefully sets up a fantastically arcade-y soccer match between teams of unlikely vehicles, and within a few minutes, the premise melts away and what you have is a very compelling team game with really intuitive controls and a tight, polished physics engine. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t, but it *is* extremely fun; it’s the pure, simple fun of Mariokart in a more streamlined package.

It scales surprisingly well to the number of players you have, from 1v1 to 4v4. I played mainly with Kodra, Eliyon, and Ash, but as our group grew and shrank, it was easy to go from 3v3 to 4v4. We played against the AI, since none of us had played the game before, but the AI gave us a bunch of fun matches. Games last about five to seven minutes, so it’s easy to hop in for a game or two.


It’s also a surprisingly DEEP game. Controls are fairly simple, but the combination of the physics engine and the… liberties the game takes with the laws of physics let you set up some really awesome shots and saves if you’ve got the presence of mind and controller finesse to pull them off. There aren’t different types of handling for different cars, either– every car simply handles more or less identically, turning tightly, accelerating quickly, and having a frankly silly top speed. Without the constraints of a race, there’s no reason for differing levels of imperfection in a car, so Rocket League does away with all of that entirely. All of the car customization is entirely cosmetic, and pretty hilarious. Eliyon won a mariachi hat in our first game and wore it for pretty much the rest of the day. This is a gigantic hat that just goes on the roof of your car. Why? It doesn’t matter!


The best review of Rocket League I’ve heard is “I don’t like driving games or sports games at all, but I like Rocket League.” It pretty much says everything, and the fact that it’s a game where you drive cars around that Ash has fun playing also says a lot (haha I’m just kidding Ash). Seriously, though, it’s a really fun game and worth your time. It is to soccer what mariokart is to racing, which is a title I used to give to Super Mario Strikers, but frankly Rocket League does the same kind of thing better.

Rocket League also became an e-sport in record time and has a ton of youtube and twitch videos. Watching really, really good players is pretty exciting, because they pull off insane stunts. Definitely worth a look. If you like fun and like mariokart, give Rocket League a look.

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