Everyone has equal chances in Rocket League, there are neither Ronaldo sports cars nor Niklas Bendtner stumbling vans. When it comes to twisting the ball into the net with the bumper, everyone can only rely on their own skill in handling the analog sticks. If you want spectacular kicks, ingenious long shots or rescue attempts worth seeing. He has acquired these skills in hours of training and is rightly allowed to show off his “skill”.
Getting started is easy
- The control works like in an arcade racing game. From the pursuer’s perspective (alternatively with focus on the ball) your speedster steers wonderfully directly and catchily, without delay.
- A turbo function (charged by collecting distributed balls in the field) allows fast forward rush or rapid falling back. You can either drive along the walls of the playing field or fly when boost is activated.
- To obtain the pilot’s licence, however, some practice is required. Countless tutorials and training tasks, some of them created by players, help you to perfect your driving and flying style.
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When the jump button is pressed twice, the car somersaults forward or sideways. If the ball is hit, the game device picks up speed. If you jostle your opponent, you push him away; if the boost is activated, the hit player will be taken out of play for a short time. There is no penalty for this, many games are correspondingly chaotic. The goal is simple: to push, push and shoot the ball towards the opponent’s goal, to cart the ball over the line and to score more goals than the opponent at the end of the five-minute game. Otherwise, there is an extra time with a golden-goal rule: the first player to score wins the game.
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Depending on the mode, two, four, six or eight remote-controlled racing cars face each other in two teams – AI drivers fill any gaps in “casual” mode if there are not enough human players. But that’s unlikely, because the crossplay function allows you to play against players from the PC, PS4 and Xbox One camps when you’re connected to the Internet. In addition to the usual car football, “Casual” also offers game variants such as “Hoops” (basketball) or “Snow Day” (ice hockey). They break open the well-known gameplay formula and make enormous fun, whether with strangers in online mode or with up to three buddies on a console via split screen (two players in switch handheld mode).
In “Rumble” there are even weird power-ups like a boxing glove or the possibility to draw the ball to you from a distance – reminiscent of Mario Kart. And then there is Dropshot, where the bouncing ball hits holes in the floor of the arena – the more of this hexagon you open in the enemy half, the easier it is to sink the game device into it and mark a hit. Even more unusual are the “Rocket Labs”. Their arenas are very different from the standard and have highly experimental layouts.
Regardless of mode, Rocket League guarantees top entertainment
When all players like F-Youth footballers rush to the ball, jump past the pill or ram each other at the kick-off or near the goal, funny scenes occur. Often such collisions result in sloping own goals, which you simply have to laugh at – at the latest when the excellent replay function resolves the question of the goal scorer.
That this doesn’t taste too much of a coincidence and leads to frustration is due to the perfect ball physics. The play equipment always behaves in a comprehensible manner and anyone who “kicks” the pill with feeling or force notices clear differences. True ball artists anticipate the game by including the gang or avoid opponents by riding over the walls. With every game you learn new tricks, try other tricks and feel like a king when the first flying shot lands full in your opponent’s goal.
There is a smooth transition between defence and attack, there are no fixed player roles. However, especially if there are more than two participants, it is advisable to keep a comrade in goal. Its parades can cause joy dances and curses as well as batten hits and dusters.
Fogging up technically
The Rocket League switch servers worked just as well for the launch as they did on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, in our test there were only a few minimal lags or problems with matchmaking.