Title: Rocket League
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Action Sports
Platform reviewed on: PS4 ($19.99)
Also available on: PC
Gaming is full of ideas that, on paper, shouldn't work at all.
Plumbers munching mushrooms and saving a princess from evil dinosaurs? A tower defense game pitting plants versus the walking dead? A yellow sphere gobbling pellets and fruit while chased by tireless ghosts? Yet all these ideas turned out to be classics.
Enter Rocket League's zany take on soccer, pitting teams of up to four players against each other in an arena brawl that is equal parts Thunder Dome and World Cup.
Developer Psyonix, the team that brought you 2004's brilliant Unreal Tournament, has created a massive hit with a game that is the epitome of pick-and-up-play. If you've played a racing or car-based game in the past several years, the controls will be intuitive. From there, players experiment with the physics of their vehicles, learning how to conduct complicated aerial shots and “headers” with the simple press of a button.
By default, the games only take about five minutes, and with the PS4's suspend play feature, Rocket Leauge is the perfect game to jump into for a few brief sessions – or an afternoon of nonstop fun. The best way to play is with friends, and couch co-op allows multiple players to square off on the same console. There's a healthy amount of unlockable content that is mostly cosmetic, and the game also features the requisite leveling system that sees players rising through the ranks from amateur to professional. You'll unlock items simply by playing the game, and purchasable add-on content is also available.
The stock set of arenas is underwhelming, though you won't mind much because you'll be skipping around a lot with the short game times. You'll also want to switch the camera mode to focus on the ball, otherwise things can get a little hairy trying to see the field and where your teammates are.
I also can't comment on the season or tournament features, as I've yet to fully explore them. But if you're looking for a fun action sports title to fill spaces between longer, AAA releases, you could do far worse than Rocket League. Psyonix has also promised a continued stream of additional content, much of which will be free.
Verdict: 4/5 stars