It would not be outlandish to assume that you have heard of Rocket League. “Oh, that one where you play football with cars?” Yes, that’s the one! Put simply, it is just football with cars, but Rocket League offers so much more than that. The most popular game mode is called Soccar and the aim is to win a match by scoring more goals than the opposing team by using your car to bump the ball into your opponent’s net. You also have the boost function: on the arena there are yellow pads on the floor that add boost to your gauge. If you have boost then when pressing the boost button, you will gain boost of acceleration which can be used to get an edge over your opponents. The final important aspect to be outlined is called the aerial mechanic. To perform an aerial manoeuvre, you have to boost whilst in the air to try to hit the ball, making the car essentially fly through the air.
The playlist for Casual Soccar consists of 3v3, 1v1, 2v2 and 4v4. I will cover 3v3 and 2v2 in this segment as they are the most noteworthy. Let’s start with 3v3, which has no standout mechanics or unique elements, but is the traditional way of playing Rocket League. It is usually best for a new player to start off with 3v3 so they get used to the norm. It is also the best game mode for casual players because of the relaxed nature of the mode: you can leave at any time, join in the middle of random games, and play with people of any ability. This low-stress environment is perfect for someone who perhaps wants to play the game for fun in their limited spare time, but not for someone ready to quit their job or drop out of school to pursue getting to Grand Champion full time!
Next, 2v2. On paper 2v2 seems very similar to 3v3, but in practice there are some differences. The most obvious difference is that there is one less player per team; I know, quite the discovery. Having fewer players on the pitch makes the arena feel empty, there is much less chaos, and generally people playing 2v2 are more competent at the game. Now, 2v2 does require a higher degree of care. You cannot storm off on solo attack or attack with your partner freely as your goal is left unattended and one nicely placed clearance, or lucky bump may mean you have just conceded a goal. This game mode, although still a casual mode, involves more thinking and planning, as basic strategy is required to be able to attack and not get caught off guard by a sudden change of action.
These standard game modes of Soccar are quite fun, however not perfect. A commonly witnessed annoyance by me is when I join a new game, and it 2 minutes until the end, your team is either losing horribly or winning by a landslide and most players have left and are replaced with bots. Apart from this one gripe, this section of the game is quite enjoyable, and takes up a sizeable portion of my total hours played.
Ranked is basically just the casual playlist but, depending on how many games you win, you’ll advance to higher tiers with players of similar ability. The key difference is that games aren’t casual: results matter. A player starts out as unranked and must play 10 matches to determine their initial rank. Let’s say that rank is Gold, for example, the player then keeps playing games in order to advance through to the next rank which, after gold is platinum, then diamond, champion, and finally grand champion. This mode is both fun and challenging as it shows you the hard work you have done in the form of your rank, it is addictive to try and reach the highest rank you can during each season.
Much like the casual playlist, ranked is not flawless. A major let down is that you can often find a player that sacrifices his rank in order to ruin other players’ ranks by scoring own goals and essentially making the teams unfair. At times there are also players that leave on purpose so that their teammates are put at a disadvantage. However, this is not as a result of the playlist, but more because of the people who play it.
The extra modes playlist consists of four unique game modes: Snow Day, Hoops, Drop Shot, and Rumble.
It is basically just standard Soccar, but the ground is covered with snow and the ball is replaced with a hockey puck. The replacement of the ball means that it takes time to get used to the hockey puck mechanics as it slides around, does not bounce predictably, and can be either larger or thinner depending on how it is placed.
The main gimmick with hoops is that the goal is replaced with a basketball hoop. It changes the dynamic completely as now the focus is getting the ball into the air and trying to hit aerials into the hoop, not keeping the ball on the floor like in Soccar.
This is by far the most unique mode in the whole game. The arena is split into two, and it is basically an altered form of volleyball as the aim is to not have the ball touch the floor of your team’s side. If the ball does, then a portion of the floor is either damaged or destroyed, revealing a hole. If the ball falls into the hole, you lose a point. A key point is that when you concede a point, your side of the field resets, whereas the opponents’ side stays the same, so if it is a battle down to the wire, and both sides are badly damaged, when one team concedes the point, the other team is now more vulnerable since they badly damaged after the previous battle.
Rumble is normal Soccar, but every 10 seconds you receive a power up to aid you throughout the game. There are a lot of powerups to name, so I will share just a few of the most popular ones. The first powerup, Plunger, is a plunger, hence the name, which sticks onto the ball and hurls it in the direction you are going. The next, Freezer, allows you freeze the ball in place when in range. It will only start to move when the effect has worn off or a player has bumped it. Lastly, the Spike. When activated, your car will grow spikes and the ball will stick to the body, meaning you can go anywhere with the ball until the effect wears off. The power ups add a fun twist to the standard mode, making it a go to for me personally.
Rocket League is a well-polished, expertly made game that has made a huge impact on the gaming community, and the industry overall. It is clear that Rocket League is still highly popular even seven years after it was first launched back in 2015, and it will most likely remain relevant for years to come. Rocket League’s longevity can be put down to its fun and challenging game play, as well as the variety of game modes and regular new content such as new seasons, tournaments, and downloadable content (DLC).
Authored by guest writer Szymon Pilas.