TeamVVV
Slot 1

Rocket League Nintendo Switch review

Martin Bigg On January 26, 2018

No one could have ever predicted the surprise success of Rocket League this generation. Its predecessor, the awkwardly titled (deep breath) Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars released on PS3 a decade ago was criminally overlooked, and yet Rocket League’s popularity continues to grow at a rapid rate. At the time of writing, Rocket League is enjoyed by 40 million players worldwide across all platforms which is simply staggering.
 
First released in 2015 on PS4 and PC, Rocket League’s vital exposure in the PlayStation Plus Instant Games Collection catapulted it into the monumental success story it is today. Since its initial release, Rocket League has been ported to Xbox One, and now it’s arrived on the Nintendo Switch platform to expand its player base even further.

Rocket League Nintendo Switch screenshot Mario car
 
If in the unlikely event you’ve never played Rocket League before, the game combines cars and football in a winning formula that instantly hooks you. Two teams of up to four RC battle cars frantically drive around vibrant arenas while trying to bash an oversized ball into a goal that explodes whenever someone scores. Presumably, the developers watched one of Top Gear’s car football films and thought it would apply well to a video game. Fortunately, it does.
 
Key to Rocket League’s success is its deceptive simplicity. It's accessible for anyone to pick up, play and understand in seconds, but there’s a surprisingly steep learning curve that makes mastering the mechanics incredibly rewarding. Since the ball is physics-based, hitting it requires an element of strategy – scoring a goal with a well-timed jump and somersault while hitting the ball at the right angle takes considerable skill. This tactical gameplay has made Rocket League a popular mainstay in eSports. You don’t even need to be a football fanatic to enjoy Rocket League. I'll be the first to admit that I loathe football - the last football game I played was Fifa 99 on the PS1.
 

Pocket Rocket

The Nintendo Switch version of Rocket League comes courtesy of Panic Button, the same developer responsible for the impressive Doom port which is a technical marvel. Everyone knows that the Nintendo Switch is underpowered compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, and Rocket League does suffer from some visual compromises as a result. Like the Doom Switch port, texture quality has been downgraded and there’s also no anti-aliasing, resulting in jagged edges blemishing the cars and environments.

Rocket League Nintendo Switch screenshot Mario and Luigi cars
 
While the car-football game can be played in 1080p as standard and up to 4k resolution on other platforms, Rocket League runs at an adaptive resolution on Switch. In docked mode, the game runs at a locked 720p, but in handheld mode, this dips to around 526p and changes dynamically depending on the stadium you select. As a result, distant objects can look pixelated which occasionally makes it difficult to see opponents on the smaller screen. Visual fidelity has also been further reduced in handheld mode, with the removal of shadows and other graphical effects.
 
These compromises were necessary to make the game run at a solid 60fps, however, and the controls are tight and wonderfully responsive as a result, allowing you to execute swift handbrake turns with pinpoint precision. In a fast-paced game like Rocket League, a fluid frame rate is essential, and the developer clearly understands this. Besides, you’ll barely notice the visual cutbacks in motion.
 
Matches also only last five minutes which makes Rocket League very suitable for playing on the go. Rocket League is renowned for being chronically compulsive, and the Nintendo Switch version certainly won’t help cure your addition - being able to play it wherever you go makes an already addictive game even harder to put down. Quick five-hour matches soon turn into long sessions lasting several hours until your Switch runs out of charge. Prepare to say goodbye to your social life.
 


Rocket League could have easily been ported to the Nintendo Switch without any new content and it still would have been a huge seller, but Panic Button has taken the time to add some Nintendo-themed content exclusive to the Switch release. There’s nothing ground-breaking here, but it’s a nice perk that Nintendo fans will appreciate while continuing the trend of system-exclusive cars: the PS4 version of Rocket League also includes a miniature version of Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck from Twisted Metal, and the Xbox One version lets you shoot goals with the Armadillo from Gears of War.
 
Included in the Switch version of Rocket League is a new Mario-themed car with distinctive red and green liveries and hats inspired by Mario and Luigi. Put some time in, and you’ll also unlock a car based on the spaceship from Metroid Prime featuring a striking bronze body based on the character’s iconic armour. In a neat touch, both cars also feature authentic sound effects from the franchises that inspired them – the Mario car makes the instantly recognisable jump sound from the Mario World games, for example.
 
Season mode lets you play multiple matches, but there’s no main campaign mode in Rocket League. There’s still enough incentive to continue playing, though, as the game constantly rewards you with unlockable cosmetic items allowing you to personalise your car with a raft of new wheels, antennas, engine sounds and boost trail effects.

Rocket League Nintendo Switch screenshot Metroid Prime car
 
Sadly, Rocket League’s Switch release isn’t the definitive version of the game. While all cars from the original release are included, DLC packs and licensed cars like the Back to the Future DeLorean and the Fast and Furious Dodge Charger still need to be purchased separately. It stings when the Xbox One version bundled the Supersonic Fury, Revenge of the Battle-Cars and Chaos Run DLC at launch to compensate for being released a year after the PS4. Other Switch ports like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mantis Burn Racing also include all previously released DLC as standard, so not bundling any DLC with Rocket League seems like a missed opportunity. 
 

Match made in heaven

Mercifully, the Switch version does include every free update added to the game post-release. At launch, Rocket League was somewhat barebones, but it’s since been expanded considerably with a plethora of new arenas and game modes, each featuring radically different rules and ball physics that add some welcome variety. In addition to the main “Soccar” mode, Rocket League also now features a basketball-inspired Hoops mode with a focus on aerial gameplay with a lighter ball. Snow Day, on the other hand, is Rocket League’s take on ice hockey, replacing the bouncy football with a heavier puck.
 
There’s also Dropshot, a mode where the goals are replaced with breakable hexagonal floor panels, while the chaotic Rumble mode adds power-ups into the mix. They’re all fun diversions that require decidedly different tactics to succeed, but you’ll probably keep coming back to the standard Soccar mode.

Rocket League Nintendo Switch screenshot
 
As consistently fun as Rocket League is to play with AI opponents, playing with other human opponents either online or in local multiplayer is an absolute riot. Thanks to the Switch’s detachable joy-con controllers, it’s possible to play Rocket League in split-screen multiplayer while in handheld mode, though you’ll need to squint to see your position when in split-screen. Brilliantly, Rocket League supports cross-platform multiplayer with Xbox One and PC players, too. It’s a shame Sony didn't add the PS4 to the list to create a hat-trick of cross-platform support, but online matches perform without a hitch. Having an established field of players from other platforms means you’ll never struggle to find an online match. If only the Switch supported voice chat.
 
Rocket League on Nintendo Switch may not be the best-looking version of the game, but it’s easily the most addictive. Its fun, fast-paced gameplay makes it perfectly suited to the portable platform, and the game has expanded considerably since its initial release with new modes, arenas and cars that all feature in the Switch version. Factor in the ability to play against an established online community of Xbox One and PC players, and Rocket League on the Nintendo Switch is a match made in heaven. 

Related Articles

Supersonic Fury DLC released for Rocket League

Supersonic Fury DLC released for Rocket League

Psyonix have released the Supersonic Fury DLC pack for their very popular sports/racing hybrid game Rocket...

Rocket League coming to Xbox One next week

Rocket League coming to Xbox One next week

We've known for quite some time now that Rocket League would be heading to the Xbox One console at some...

Customisable training coming to Rocket League

Customisable training coming to Rocket League

If you're anything like me then you probably have a slight addiction to playing 2015's indie runaway hit...

Hot Wheels DLC coming to Rocket League

Hot Wheels DLC coming to Rocket League

Now if you're anything like us here at Team VVV, you would've spent your childhood playing with toy cars....

Rocket League is heading to the Switch with cross-play

Rocket League is heading to the Switch with cross-play

The extremely popular car-football title Rocket League will get an additional fan base later this year when...

Rocket League on Switch will run at 720p only

Rocket League on Switch will run at 720p only

Following the announcement that Rocket League will be heading to the Nintendo Switch, developer Psyonix has...

Rocket League is even more addictive on Nintendo Switch

Rocket League is even more addictive on Nintendo Switch

After a prolonged drought of new releases since the magnificent Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the much-loved...

Rocket League “pull-back” toys are on the way

Rocket League “pull-back” toys are on the way

The Rocket League developer in conjunction with Zag Toys has announced that new Rocket League pull back...

Comments

Subscribe to our newsletter

Register Login Request A Page Facebook Login
Slot 6

Interviews

More Interviews
Slot 7

Lifestyle & Entertainment

More Lifestyle
Slot 8

Automotive Reviews

More Auto Gaming

Retro Gaming

More Retro Gaming