BENGALURU: You’ve probably heard about Rocket League. Since its release in 2015, it’s been a massive hit, earning multiple awards and becoming one of the latest eSport crazes. If you’ve played it, you know what it’s all about already. If you haven’t? That’s what this article is for. Rocket League is football played by rocket-powered cars. That’s it. No, really, that’s it. It’s refreshing to see a game just stick to a core concept like glue, especially when that core concept is so bonkers and fun. Now, reading that statement, you probably already know whether Rocket League is a game for you.
If you thought that that summary sounded weird and goofy (not in a good way), then it might not be for you. If, however, you were intrigued, you should absolutely give it a try because this is some next-level craziness. The setup couldn’t be simpler — two teams, Blue and Orange, will spend 5 minutes on a given map trying to score more goals than the opposition.
That formula stays largely consistent, but what adds variety is the range of maps on offer. You’ve got the usual stadiums, parks and indoor pitches that you’d expect; but you also get a Mad Max-inspired arena, a coliseum where every goal is greeted by a trumpet fanfare, an underwater pitch and one with a Japanese announcer. Although many of these are merely cosmetic changes, there are some wrinkles as well — not every map is shaped the same, or has the same level surfaces, so you’ll have to adapt to each map’s unique characteristics in order to succeed.
And when you succeed, it is oh so sweet! Rocket League isn’t as crazy an experience as you’d expect from the description — it’s much, much more than that. You see, your cars — which are less than a third of the size of the ball you’re trying to whack here, there and everywhere — can jump, doublejump, barrel-roll and boost all over the place. In theory, that means you’ve got all the tools at your disposal to finesse the ball into the goal. In practice, that means that every match in Rocket League is usually a series of pratfalls and gags that would’ve been laughed right out of a Tom & Jerry routine for being too silly.
This is an absolutely hilarious game, which means there’s something here for people who are willing to not take it too seriously. (And I haven’t even mentioned Rumble mode, which basically turns this game into Mario Kart.) If, on the other hand, you want to take Rocket League seriously, you’ve got the means to do so. The game’s wacky at the beginning, but you’ll grow accustomed to the physics and the handling and soon you’ll be using boost to fly around the map or barrel-rolling off the wall (did I mention you can drive up the walls?) to score an acrobatic goal and all the rest.
If you get the chance, I recommend watching highlights of a pro-level match once you’ve gone some way down the Rocket League rabbit hole — seeing what high-level players can do with this game can either be discouraging or give you something to strive towards. I think the latter’s the way to go, especially once you’ve started getting the hang of this game - insofar as you can, really. This is going to be the shortest closer I’ll ever write — if anything I’ve written sounded interesting to you, you’ve got to play Rocket League. Play it with your friends (couch co-op/competitive play is one of the best things ever, and this game only reinforces that), play it alone; just play this game.