This has been one of the most anticipated games for me on the Nintendo Switch ever since the console was released. I own Rocket League already on PC and Playstation 4, and you would assume the hype would have been lost on me: nope.
If you’re new to Rocket League or not familiar with it, it’s a physics heavy arena-based soccer game where you knock a soccer ball around with a car. There are two teams and the aim is to get as many goals as possible before the time runs out.
You can do backflips, rocket boosts and other aerobatic moves. The game is inherently simple, but hard to master.
It’s one of those games you have to experience for yourself, if you want to get hyped go onto Youtube and watch a few professional Rocket League games which are highly entertaining to watch (there are some hardcore Rocket League players).
The biggest questions I had for Rocket League on Switch were; what is the framerate like (for docked and handheld), does it look as good as its PC and console counterparts, and most importantly how does it feel playing with Joycons?
Whilst Rocket League isn’t an overly graphical game, the fast paced gameplay can result in framerate issues depending on what is happening on the screen. On the PS4, in the early days I witnessed some framerate issues, which were subsequently resolved.
I am happy to report the framerate is buttery smooth for both docked and handheld mode. It’s hard to believe we’re seeing a fast paced and physics abusive game like this running on high-end tablet hardware without frames being dropped.
To get the framerate nice and smooth, Psyonix has clearly had to remove a little detail from the game given the hardware is more limited compared to rival consoles like Xbox or Playstation.
Overall, Rocket League is another successful port that proves the hardware is more than capable.
In what should be an applauded feat, Psyonix has managed to port over the game pretty much 1:1. The graphical quality is definitely a downgrade if your experience stems from playing on PC or other console. But, it’s not a big deal nor something you notice after five minutes.
While Rocket League isn’t exactly a graphically intensive game, the fast paced play and wacky graphics definitely require a little power to push it along and the Switch delivers.
I would say comparatively that Rocket League on Switch looks like the PC version on medium settings. Considering this is Rocket League running both on a home console and the ability to be played as a handheld game, it’s a tradeoff you’ll be happy to make.
Gameplay & Joycon(cern)
This is probably one of my biggest concerns prior to playing Rocket League besides the framerate, how would the Joycons go with this game given they’re a lot different than the likes of a DualShock controller.
It took maybe five minutes for me to adjust to using the Joycon. Before long, I had subconsciously ported over every skill I had learned playing the PC and Playstation version, flips, wall riding and aerial shots included.
I still believe that you can’t beat a Pro Controller for this type of game. But, if you only have Joycons just know this game feels great using Joycons.
Docked vs Handheld
Rocket League is a game that is best played in docked mode, for increased graphical quality and power. Having said that, I’ve played it a bit in handheld mode and it works quite well.
I personally found the text size to be on the small side in handheld mode, you’ll want that screen space to properly see your surroundings. But other than that, the game feels great handheld and I can see professionals using the Switch to practice whilst travelling.
The time to find a game at launch, I couldn’t find one. But after waiting a while now more people have this game, finding a game is almost instant. The servers seem to be stable and no issues with dropped packets or finding games. The best thing about Rocket League on Switch is the ability to keyboard chat in parties.
Nintendo has had a coloured history when it comes to online multiplayer, Psyonix have proven that you can create a game with a decent online experience for the Switch and I hope others follow.
This game is going to sell really well. Nintendo have really hit their stride with the Switch and Rocket League is the perfect game for this console.
The ultimate question we have to ask ourselves is: is Rocket League worth buying on the Nintendo Switch and the answer is a resounding yes. At $25 AUD, you won’t find a game more fun at the same price (if you’re into car/physics based games).