Rocket League is one of the most popular games on the market today. Nintendo surprised us all back at E3 2017 when it revealed the game would be coming to the Switch. The Switch version finally launched a few weeks ago to a lot of fanfare. That excitement wasn’t just verbal either, the Switch community over in Europe sent Rocket League skyrocketing (pun intended) to the top of the eShop charts, making it the highest-selling game on the eShop in the region for the month of November. In a way, this isn’t too surprising, but considering that the game is has been available on PC for over two years, and the PS4 and Xbox One for a little over a year, this is quite the feat. On top of that, critic review scores for the Switch version are equal to that of the PC, PS4 and Xbox One editions. (Switch = 86, PS4 = 85, XBO = 87, PC = 86) All of this goes to prove something: gameplay > graphics.
One of the biggest complaints that I’ve seen some people make about the Switch repeatedly is that it’s “too weak”, so multiplatform games aren’t worth getting on the system. Well, Rocket League’s sales and review performance on Switch completely goes against that argument. If getting the Switch version of a multiplatform game really was that bad, then there wouldn’t be so much positivity surrounding this game.
It’s very true that the Switch version of Rocket League is visually impaired when put against the other versions. But, this was done to preserve the core gameplay of Rocket League. The whole game’s identity is its highly competitive nature which requires twitch-based movements. As a result, high frame rates are required for a truly enjoyable gameplay experience. Psyonix and Panic Button did what they had to do to make sure that vision wasn’t lost when bringing the game over to Switch, which has caused the game’s visuals to take a hit. Yet, there are obviously thousands of players who are enjoying the Switch version despite the graphics downgrade, including our own Rocket League elitist Greg Bargas who gave the game a whopping 9.0 in his review. Our editor-in-chief Shawn Long was also blown away by the game on Switch, and admitted to having more fun with this version over the PS4 version. You can have pretty looking games that are also pretty boring. Again, fun factor will always be more important than graphics. If Rocket League on Switch wasn’t fun to play it wouldn’t be doing so well.
As more high-profile multiplatform games come to the Switch, we’ll see how developers go about balancing out the fun factor with the visual quality. Hopefully, they will all follow Psyonix and Panic Button’s example in making sure that the core gameplay is not interfered with for the sake of visual flair. After all, what good is a beautiful game if the framerate is running at 10FPS? Do you want pretty visuals or smooth gameplay? For a game like Rocket League, and basically every game in general, framerate always wins every time, because it’s directly tied to the fun factor.