Rocket League launched two years ago and has come a pretty long way since. The game boasts a lifetime player count of over 33 million, with over 6.1 million active players on average every month. Calling it “popular” would be a bit of an understatement. While it’s already a great game, the incoming Switch version just may shake things up even more. I’d dare say that the Switch just may end up offering the most fun Rocket League experience out of all.
Psyonix, the studio behind Rocket League, has spoke very well of the Switch version of the game. The team is working hard to meet the target release of holiday 2017, and it turns out that development is actually running ahead of schedule. That’s definitely good news. Psyonix has promised that the Switch version will be as close to the other platforms as possible. But, they’ve also talked about how the Switch offers something unique: a portable experience.
Just about every game on Switch takes advantage of the system’s hybrid design: offering both a home console and portable experience. After having consoles and handhelds separated for decades, it’s definitely a game-changer to have a single system that can fill both roles. In the case of Rocket League, this dual experience looks like it just may ‘switch’ things up. How so?
Rocket League is a very multiplayer-centric game. Whether offline or online, the most fun you’re going to have with this game is when you’re playing against others. While there is a single-player component (Season Mode), it’s definitely not the feature everybody comes for. It’s main purpose is to allow players to train and hone their skills by playing against CPU players so that they can dominate the actual human competition. And that right there is where the Switch version of Rocket League is going to shine.
While Rocket League’s multiplayer is its most-popular feature,
single-player training will be effective on Switch.
Having been restricted to only home consoles and PC, the Switch version of the game is going to be the first to offer a truly portable experience (minus those of you who may play on gaming laptops). Now, obviously online multiplayer is not going to be as accessible while on-the-go as it is when at home. Unless you have a data plan on your phone, that means you’ll be restricted to using public Wi-Fi, which in most cases is pretty slow and definitely not ideal for such a fast-paced game. Even so, the real benefit of having Rocket League while travelling is the aforementioned Training/Season mode.
Let’s say you have a regular Rocket League player who has a daily commute on some form public transportation. Their commute lasts about 20 minutes going to and from their final destination. That comes up to 40 minutes in total. Since they’re a big fan of the game, they usually play a few matches every day after they get home. But, as long as they’re away, there’s no gameplay. Here’s where the Switch version comes in. Even if this player can’t enjoy a regular online match while in transit, they can make use of the Training mode in order to get a decent amount of practice during their morning and evening commute.
Rocket League is pretty easy to pick-up-and-play for casual users, but those with real skill have an entirely different playstyle. Elite players are always looking for ways to sharpen their abilities so they can keep their Win-Lose ratio on the positive side . This is especially true for those who take part in actual Rocket League Tournaments in the eSports realm; they out of all people need to keep their skills above-and-beyond. Speaking of eSports, the Switch’s portability just may make it the ideal Rocket League machine for carrying around to different tournaments. It’s definitely less of a hassle than transporting a hefty PC rig or PS4/Xbox One.
The Switch’s portability could make it the perfect Rocket League-machine for competitive players that travel.
While most Switch players may not get to enjoy online Rocket League matches while travelling, there is another form of multiplayer that they will always have access to: one-on-one competitions. The Switch is built with local multiplayer in mind thanks to its two Joy-Con controllers being able to function individually for each player. Just like other multiplayer games currently on the system, all one would have to do is plop it down a table, hand their friend/random stranger a Joy-Con and start a match. Hopefully Psyonix will also include support for LAN play as well for some really intense local multiplayer action.
Another thing that Rocket League on Switch has going for it is full cross-platform compatibility. Switch players will be able to go up against other Switch owners, but also Xbox One and Steam users in Online matches as well. Nintendo was actually all for the idea since the very beginning, which is great. Sony is currently the only one holding off, only allowing PS4 players to go against Steam users. So, the Switch version is technically superior to it in that regard. Cross-platform compatibility not only bridges the gap between friends who may only own different platforms, but it also means that regardless of how many people buy the game on Switch, there will always be an active online community. Xbox One and Steam users account for a combined total of 59% of Rocket League’s active user-base, so there’s literally already millions of players out there for Switch owners to go against.
One ‘con’ about the Switch version is its technical prowess. Confirmed to be running at 720p/60FPS, it won’t offer the same level of eye candy as the other versions. However, I have a hard time seeing this as an actual bad thing. A game as frantic as Rocket League benefits from smooth framerates, so I’m glad Psyonix has decided to put that as a higher priority than visual fidelity. Sure, the game won’t look as good, but as long as it plays just as well, that’s honestly all that matters. Things move so fast that the average Joe is most likely going to be hard-pressed to tell the difference anyway.
With all that said, I’m definitely looking forward to Rocket League coming to the Switch. Seeing that Nintendo was the one who put the idea on the table in the first place, I have to hand it to the company for making a very good decision. A game this popular coming to Switch is a pretty big deal, and can only benefit the console. Will it sell as well as the other versions? It’s impossible to predict that, but as long as the gameplay experience feels like the Rocket League that we all know and love, then it’s all good.