Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars On The Go
Rocket League has dominated the Free-to-Play space and cemented itself as a viable Esport for over six years. It offers truly unique and exhilarating gameplay that is easy to pick up but hard to master. This, coupled with a developer that puts the community first, has propelled this juggernaut into the annals of video game history. Given Rocket League’s popularity, a port to mobile was inevitable. But the question was: What would a downsized version of this game look like? Can the high-flying acrobatics and thrills of the original be ported to a pocket-sized screen? Fortunately, with Rocket League Sideswipe it looks like Psyonix captured lightning in a bottle all over again.
Simple Yet Refined
The transition to mobile comes with some limitations. Sideswipe eschews the 3D perspective for 2D. While purists may see this as sacrilege, the perspective switch quickly becomes a non-issue. Sideswipe retains the high-flying acrobatic fun, albeit scaled down for mobile audiences. However, smaller does not mean lesser. The experience is more contained, allowing players to see the entire arena at once. This means tracking the ball and your opponents is much easier than before, arguably an improvement over the original. However, the range of movement remains. Cars are free to fly up walls, along the ceiling and through the air with boosts and jumps. Goals are still scored in spectacular fashion as players jump and flip through the air with grace or lack thereof.
Gameplay is currently limited to three game modes: 1v1, 2v2, and 2v2 Hoops. The first two modes offer the traditional Rocket League experience, with players facing off to play soccer with explosive RC cars. Hoops offers the same idea but with basketball instead of soccer. Sideswipe also offers a practice mode for beginners to test out their skills in a low-stakes game against the CPU. These modes are all well-realized and offer enough variation between them to keep things interesting for longer play sessions. This is especially true when trying to complete Rocket Pass challenges.
To The Moon
Of course, since this is a Free-to-Play game, there has to be a battle pass. Taking the form of a ‘Rocket Pass’, players can earn in-game cosmetics for completing daily, weekly and seasonal challenges. Fortunately, Sideswipe does not fall into the Pay-to-Win chasm which is often the case with similar games. All unlocks are purely cosmetic, and can be earned by simply playing the game and completing challenges. Should players feel the urge, they can pay for said cosmetics with real-world money as well. This implementation feels well-realized as challenges are simple to complete, allowing players to get rewarded regularly. This, paired with the vast amount of customization unlocks already available, means players will always have something new to show off.
Sideswipe manages to seamlessly bridge the gap between PC and mobile platforms. The focused gameplay allows the spirit of the original to shine through while making sure the the overall experience isn’t getting overcomplicated. Similar to Wild Rift, Sideswipe tweaks the formula just enough to make the experience familiar yet fresh. It will never supplant the original. But that’s not the intention here. Instead, it allows fans to enjoy what they love on the go. Perhaps, what’s even better is it allowing an entirely new player base to try the series for the first time.
Is It Hardcore?
Rocket League Sideswipe seamlessly brings the console version of this beloved game to mobile. By focusing on the perspective, the soul of the original remains unaltered while still seeming fresh. Coupled with ethical monetization practices, this is easily one of the best titles of the year.