Rocket League is nothing short of a gaming phenomenon. Initially released for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, then released on almost every format available, it has built a massive player list. With that sort of fan base, it was inevitable it would find it’s way to Nintendo Switch.
Thank the gaming gods it did.
Rocket League on Nintendo Switch is an incredible game. Having played it on PC and PS4, this is by far my favourite version. Put simply, it feels like it was designed for the Switch.
If you’ve missed the Rocket League hype so far (how?), then all you need to know is that: 1) It is football except you control a rocket-powered car and 2) It’s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.
Being able to play Rocket League in handheld mode feels fantastic. There’s no noticeable processing issues, no dip in sound quality, and only a minor shift in graphical fidelity.
Of course, the real measure of Rocket League on Switch is how it feels to play. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to shifting from full screen to the Switch’s built-in display, but get a few matches deep and you’ll get over that hump. You’ll still occasionally mistime a move if constantly switching from screen to handheld, but otherwise Rocket League is identical.
In fact, handheld quickly became my preferred way to play Rocket League on Switch. Being able to take Rocket League around with me and pick up a game anywhere I could find wi-fi was a dream. It’s practically a perfect Nintendo Switch game.
The 5 minute time frame per match really plays into the Nintendo Switch’s wheelhouse. It was almost addictively easy to grab the Switch from the dock, boot up Rocket League, and play a match or two while in between chores or other IRL distractions.
If you want to sit down for a serious play session, it was equally excellent to play with the joy-cons split or in controller mode. Rocket League was incredibly responsive. I never felt like a failure or success was due to lag or controller delay.
Graphically, there is a noticeable difference between this version and the PS4/PC/Xbox iterations. That full-power polish certainly isn’t there, but that’s not to say Rocket League on Switch is bad-looking. It is still a beautiful game, with the cars and stadia ecstatically expressive in their decadently neon glory.
In handheld mode, there is a definite blurriness or edginess to the cars. This is a real minor nitpick however, and this is a more-than-comfortable trade off to make Rocket League run as smoothly as it does. There was not a single moment the small downgrade in visual polish bothered me. Not. One. Moment.
The network connectivity required to play Rocket League online was amazingly optimised. This is all the more impressive considering that Rocket League natively operates on a cross-platform server. This means you are joining every Xbox and PC player that already frequents the game’s matchmaking service (but not PlayStation as they refuse to play nice).
You can play offline as Rocket League does have a single-player season mode. This is brilliant for when on your travels without internet access. Season mode is a great way to hone your skills against AI bot opponents, and also counts towards your personal level progress.
By gaining exp through playing matches of any sort you unlock new vehicles and customisation options. Going through the options as you unlock them, and personalising your four-wheeled footballer, is entirely optional but can be wonderfully rewarding too. The Mario and Luigi cars you get, as part of the exclusive Nintendo Switch package, are brilliantly designed and became my personal choices.
It should be noted that Rocket League does sometimes reward you with loot crates which can only be unlocked with keys. These keys must be purchased from the eshop with real money. Thankfully, these rewards are purely appearance based and have no effect on the performance of your car.
If you do want to purchase DLC content, there is a slew of options available; from vehicles designed specifically for Rocket League, through to Ghostbusters, Batman, and Fast and the Furious inspired cars. Again, it’s dangerously tempting to quickly jump into the eshop menu and nickle-and-dime away your bank account. Just be aware.
If you are after a competitive multiplayer experience, with a single-player option, Rocket League is an absolute must-buy on Nintendo Switch. It’s a sensationally well-designed game which has been given a lovingly detailed port. It really feels like, after 2 years, that Rocket League has found it’s true home.
Our copy of Rocket League was provided by the publisher. Alan is still mastering his mid-air manoeuvres, but played enough Rocket League to be a solid ground player.