Rocket League, a game just released by Psyonix, is a turbo-powered take on soccer where you play with RC cars instead of people. It’s also incredibly fun even if you don’t care for sports games. How? Well, let’s talk a bit about all the wacky shenanigans you can get into.
Yes, there is a barrel roll function in Rocket League. You jump into the air once and then press the left or right directional pad and jump again to do a neat little spin in midair that’s not only fun to look but also has tactical use, allowing you to deflect a ball rapidly approaching your goal or even to knock it into the opponents’ goal and look like a badass while doing so.
Okay, okay, so there’s only limited tactical advantage in doing this since it wastes turbo, but if you just want to do so for giggles: trail your target at a distance and then boost into them. If you’re at least a second or two into the boost when you collide into their backside, you’ll create a glorious explosion that takes them out of the game for a brief spell. There’s pretty much no reason to do this except to grab some experience points for your profile and to get back at a pesky player.
You gain experience for every match you play in Rocket League and unlock a lot of customization items for your little car, including bodies and cute flags that wobble while you drive around. These items are purely cosmetic but they do allow you to create a car that’s as cool or goofy looking as you want it to be. Interested in playing soccer with a pink monster truck? Or maybe a sleek yellow Lamborghini knock-off with a Scottish flash jutting out the side is more your style? Go for it. There’s a surprising amount of variety in the customization here that makes leveling up in the game worthwhile.
Every match randomizes where you’ll be on the field before the action starts and then does it again after a goal’s been scored. Sometimes you’ll end up in front of the ball. If that’s the case, what you can do is rush toward it and then hit the turbo when you’re couple of feet away from it, and you’ll surge into the ball. If you’re lucky, it will soar over the heads of your opponents and directly into the mouth of the goal, scoring you a point right off the bat and getting you some experience points for more precious car swag.
Every stadium is encased by a dome so that you can blast along the walls, racing far above your teammates as they bounce a ball along the field, screeching lines from Rollerball and Beyond Thunderdome into your mic as you go. You can also leap off the side of the wall to pounce on another player to give them a scare if that’s your thing. Your victim might not appreciate the gag though.
As useful as turbo is when it comes to giving the ball enough force to get into a goal, it’s also just as great of a distraction from the game, allowing you to throw yourself around the arena at will. Collect enough turbo from rolling over the yellow orbs placed around the field and then just blast around the stadium, running into whatever you find. If you hit the front of a car at full speed, you’ll be flung across the field, gleefully bouncing along the way.
Being the goalie in Rocket League is probably the most challenging (and rewarding) part of the game. It’s incredibly easy to score on goals guarded by one person since the mouth is so wide but someone who’s learned how to manipulate the movements of the car and knows how and when to jump or do a barrel roll deflection can end up dominating matches for their team thanks to their acrobatic defense skills.
Javy Gwaltney devotes his time to writing about these videogame things when he isn’t teaching or cobbling together a novel. You can follow the trail of pizza crumbs to his Twitter or his website.