I was a bit skeptical about Rocket League at first. I’d seen some GIFs, maybe watched a video, but not much more. I put it on my Steam wishlist just so I’d know when the price was knocked down, and then maybe I would consider it. This past weekend, the PC version of game was free on Steam, so I gave it a shot. And, here I am, many hours later, writing this review to tell you how wrong I was to wait.
Rocket cars and soccer, what more could I ask for? Boiled down, the game is two-on-two or three-on-three soccer, using cars with rocket boosters to knock a giant ball around the playing field. It sounds simple, and one might expect it to be more of a minigame in some larger cartoon racing game.
The game is much, much more than what it appears to be. What I found fantastic was how simple the whole game felt. No story setup as there isn’t one, no complicated or unintuitive controls to stumble through, and, really, no learning curve. I just sat down and started playing. After a very brief tutorial, I was in a game up against some computer-controlled players. It felt like the games of soccer I played when I was five; everyone was hurtling toward the ball, wherever it went. Positions? We don’t know the word. Defending? No, offense is the best defense! It didn’t matter much where the ball went, so long as I was able to hit it with as much boost as I possibly could.
I played through a bunch of games offline to get the game down, and then decided I was skilled enough to try some online play. Three… two… one… everyone charge at the ball! And we all did. It was great. I was great! Then, I looked around and couldn’t find my teammate. Oh wait, there he is. Is… is he playing goalie? That’s stupid, he should be up here, with me, hitting things! Just as soon as that went through my head, one of my opponents cleared the ball right towards our goal. It looked bleak for the orange team—losing the first point would be terrible for morale. And that’s when I witnessed a miracle. My buddy back there jumped, jumped again, and then started to fly. Rocket powered, he flew towards that ball and knocked it right back to the opponent’s goal, and scored! It was a beautiful sight to behold, and also that moment I realized I sucked, and I had a lot to learn.
The rest of the game was filled with more glorious moments—not by me, of course. I watched as players from both sides used jumping, walls, and boosting power to manipulate the flight path of the ball in ways that would make physicists cry. It was a thing of beauty to watch the ball get cleared from the goal, bounce off the opposing crossbar, and have two cars charging at it literally head over heels to score the goal.
That’s what got me hooked on Rocket League. In the first five minutes of play, I was having a blast. And every minute after that, I was having a blast. I still am, actually, because I don’t see myself quitting this game anytime soon. The skill ceiling is so high, the game is fast-paced, energetic, and unbelievably fun, and I see no reason to stop. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.