We enter a scene where a group of newly acquainted gamers is having a conversion about the games they are into. Let’s observe…
Person: Oh, that’s a cool game. Love the series. But, the new one doesn’t come out for another year. What are you playing right now?
Me: Rocket League.
Person: Roc…what kind of game is that?
Me: You’ve never heard of Rocket League?
Person: No…What is it?
Me: It’s like. (Thinks for a long moment how to describe it) Well, it’s like rocket power cars trying to kick a giant ball into a goal. Like, rocket-car soccer, err, soccer car…jets?
Person: It was nice talking to you.
Me: (Urge to kill heightens) You. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
Disclaimer: A code was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Everyone has a favorite game they like to play. Some might reach for a romp in the Super Mario Odyssey universe, while others might backtrack through the landscapes of Breath of the Wild. For me, the most willingly I’ve ever allowed a game to consume my time has been with Rocket League.
For the uninitiated, please see quasi-realistic conversation above.
Up until the recent installment of Rocket League on the Switch, I could be found playing the game on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The PC platform has consumed most of my time at a sickening 750+ hours. The competitiveness, fun, and frustration keep bringing me back. Not to mention, Psyonix consistently provides new updates and items.
The Xbox version of the game provided another way for my friends that live in other cities to sit down and catch up while decking out our cars in the most eccentric and ridiculous apparel. When another friend on my Facebook feed mentioned having no one to play the game with on PS4, well, it was time to make another purchase.
I know it sounds silly to own a game on four different platforms. But, every one of those platforms has a reason behind it. I had only hoped that Psyonix would bring Rocket League to the Nintendo Switch. There’s no doubt I would be laying in bed and enjoying 1v1 and 2v2 ranked matches. And of course, my time in the restroom would conclude as soon as a match was over. I couldn’t have been happier when the release date dropped, and my prayers were answered.
The Nintendo Switch version of Rocket League includes the same library of trinkets and customizations available to other platforms. However, Psyonix introduced a Mario, Luigi and Metroid vehicle for the latest release. When you jump with the Super Mario themed cars, both make the iconic Mario “boing” sound and emit stars as their boost trails. I couldn’t help but giddily laugh to myself the first time I hopped for an aerial. This isn’t earth-shattering, but it almost seems like Psyonix and Nintendo showed each other a sign of respect in the curation process.
Speaking in terms of graphics, I don’t think it’s particularly fair to pit the Switch version against all others. I’ve been playing the game mostly in handheld mode, becoming an apples and oranges comparison. However, I will say in docked mode, even though the game has been stripped of some noticeable visuals, it seems better optimized than the bloated Xbox One version of the game. The Xbox One versions seem to chug along while still trying to compete with its PC counterpart.
The rest of the game plays much like all other releases. You’ll find mayhem in 3v3 matches, enjoy the anxiety of Dropshot, and showcase your strategic skills in 1v1. I was fearful that introducing a new platform to the Rocket League family would hinder matchmaking. After all, this was a concern for other developers when introducing a new SKU to the family. But, there were no noticeable hiccups. I don’t think at this point I’ve even managed to get a blinking connection signal.
Although the game boasts being able to play alongside Xbox One and PC users via Steam, you don’t really quite know who is who. I don’t quite know if this will change in the future or if it’s just the current landscape of matchmaking at this point. It didn’t really make a difference to me being that the matches are matched fairly accurately based on skill.
I was glad to see that the touchscreen was utilized for in-game messages. I’ve always struggled when trying to quickly type out a quick jab or sarcastic comment via Xbox Live. Even when using a chatpad, I found that the downtime during replays wasn’t long enough. The Switch version allows you to touch-type your hate or praise with ease. No more worrying that your message will not be received. Nintendo also recently introduced video recording in the last console update. However, this is not available in-game. The ability to save a replay, though, is still available post-match.
I will say that porting Rocket League to Switch was an impressive feat. However, there is one drawback that I wanted to comment on.
There is a lot of precision that comes along with flying through the air with a rocket car. Aerials can make or break a match, and jabs to the ball in just the right spot could nab that “W” during the five-minute match. But, the springy design of the JoyCon thumbstick often detracts from the feeling of having complete, precise control. Smooth turns can become quick jerks if you’re not constantly attentive to your next move. The same can be said for the ZL and ZR triggers.
Other consoles favor a hinged trigger, allowing for increased acceleration depending on how hard the trigger is pulled. It does take some getting used to, but it doesn’t completely obstruct the experience.
There is a Switch version of Rocket League, and I couldn’t be happier. The game performs well both in docked and handheld mode. The Nintendo themed cars are a fun and fulfilling addition the line of cars available.
You might think having a game exist simultaneously on four different platforms might provide the right environment for connectivity and matchmaking issues. However, I did not encounter a single one during the review process.
The controls do take some getting used to. There are moments where it feels like the exact clone of its PS4, Xbox One, and PC counterparts. However, when using the JoyCon, there is a slight learning curve with the sensitivity of their springy design.
The Nintendo Switch version of Rocket League is a worthy port. It is welcomed, fun, and brings Switch owner’s into the light. Now excuse me while I recline and match wits in my Paladin.
- Exceptional port
- Rocket League in a handheld is a dream come true
- Stays true to the Rocket League brand
- Addition of exclusive Nintendo themed assets
- JoyCons somewhat hinder experience
- Video capture feature not included
- Minor party and touch screen features not included