First released on the PC and PlayStation 4 in 2015, Rocket League has been a breakout hit. Beyond being a best-seller on every platform its been on, this vehicular soccer game has found a second wind as an eSports title. With the title showing no signs of slowing down, it blasts onto the Nintendo Switch with cross-platform play and some Nintendo exclusive cars.
If you haven’t played Rocket League before, you’re in for a treat. It’s an arcade-style sports game where players play soccer with fantastical cars. These vehicles can boost to blistering speeds, jump, and even drive up the wall. Games last for five minutes and the team with the most goals wins. There is an elegance to its design in that it is very easy to pick up, play, and enjoy as soon as you start. As you get better though, you’ll get engrossed with mastering your ability to hit the ball at just the right angle by orienting your car in just the right position. The adrenaline rush that comes with making the perfect save or jumping out of nowhere to hit the ball into the top corner of the net is intoxicating.
The vehicular soccer action can be played in 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 formats. I enjoy 2v2 for online matches where I can team up with my brother, as well as the eSports standard of 3v3. 4v4 is a bit too crowded for me, while 1v1 feels too empty. Glad that the game gives you options, as well as options for other side games such as variants on basketball and hockey.
This in an experience primarily meant to be enjoyed online. Online play has been hit-and-miss on the Switch at best, as developers on the platform are forced to build their own infrastructures to support their games. Surprisingly, Rocket League works really well in this regard. The party system makes it very easy for you to group up with friends. The game runs smoothly with no noticeable signs of lag under regular conditions. On top of all that, there’s cross-platform play, allowing Switch players to compete against Xbox One and PC players. Unfortunately, Sony is holding out its support for cross-platform functionality, so you can’t play with your PS4 friends from the Switch.
Playing alone, the experience is a bit thin. Granted, this isn’t a full-priced game, but you pretty much get only exhibition modes and a are-bones season mode. Without extra depth in the single-player to compensate for the lack of human competition, you probably will tire of the season mode quickly. That’s fine for this game, as it’s not a full-priced game and its primary focus is multiplayer.
Now that we’ve covered the fact that Rocket League is a good game, the million dollar question remains: is Rocket League good on the Switch? In short, yes. Having played the PS4 version in the past, it’s clear to see that the Switch version does take a hit in resolution when you’re playing in docked mode. However, the game maintains a solid framerate and it plays just as well. Undocked, the experience still holds true, even when playing two-player split-screen. Despite having owned the game on the PS4 for years, I’m going to spend more time with this version, as the convenience of being able to play this in any configuration makes it so much more accessible for me and my current lifestyle.
Following in the footsteps of Doom, Rocket League is another great port of a game that first appeared on more powerful hardware. Concessions in visual fidelity were made, which may be a turn-off for those who want the best graphical experience at all costs. However, the benefits of being able to play Rocket League are hard to ignore. Switch players who don’t have any other platforms to play on should grab this immediately. If you already have it elsewhere, the portability and cross-platform play may make it a worthy double-dip.