I’ve enjoyed playing Rocket League, on and off, since its launch in 2015. Rocket League’s popularity has always been high but has seen exponential growth since the game became free to play, in 2020. It’s one of those games that you can just sit down and play. You don’t need to learn loads of rules or gameplay tactics. You can play for a few minutes or as long as you like. It’s an ideal game to just let off a bit of steam without having to heavily engage your brain. If you want to take it more seriously, that option is available too, so it really does have mass appeal.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, visualise football meets Robot Wars and that’s pretty much the essence of it. Set in an arena, you’re controlling a car in which you aim at a large metallic-looking ball, in the hope of directing it into your opponent’s goal. Get it wrong and hit an opponent’s car instead of the ball and you’re going to suffer damage which can impact your performance. As the clock hits zero and the carnage stops, the team with the most goals win. Although the base game is free to play, you can pay for extras, such as buying different cars but there really is no need. The car you’re supplied by default is called Octane and is arguably the best car anyway.
Let’s delve deeper into the game and what you can do… starting with the Menu, which contains the Rocket Pass, Garage, Item shop and Profile. The first three options offer a means to customise your vehicle. These are all purely cosmetic and don’t affect gameplay. A small fee gets you extra rewards for more customisation if you wish, but again it’s not necessary. The Profile allows you to see your stats and also offers replays, so you can indulge again in your finest moments.
Rocket League offers various game modes, starting with Casual. Casual mode allows you to drop in and out of games, even midway through. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4. Competitive mode is where you play 10 matches on a 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3 basis. You will then be awarded a rank. This will go up or down as you play further games, depending on your level of success. Tournament mode is mainly for more established players and you don’t get to choose the number of players. Training mode is there for you to practise and fine-tune your skills. Extra mode offers you a range of skills, attributes and modifications. Custom mode allows you to play with your friends.
I have to admit when I first started playing Rocket League I was pretty bad. It looks easy to play and in many ways, it is but mastering it, is another issue. Visually the game looks stunning, the music is brilliant, the gameplay excellent and it can be highly addictive. If you intend to play on a PC I would advise getting a game controller. You can play with a mouse and keyboard but it is much more difficult.
Rocket League has a massive online community and you will find dedicated servers on sites, such as Discord. Its concept may be simple, but it’s a great game and I don’t see its appeal and popularity waning any time soon. It’s just a short, free download away, so try it out, if you haven’t already.