ThinkBoxly is the personal developer blog of Lucas Chasteen, author, programmer, artist, and always learning. Read more

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rocket League Beta is a Blast (Video)

In a day and age when the word 'gaming' generally conjures up images of high-budget story-driven experiences, it's easy to forget that sometimes the simplest ideas are actually the most fun—and that videogames can even be 'fun' in the purest sense of the word at all.

Such is Rocket League from developer Psyonix, slated to release on the Playstation 4 this summer and at an undisclosed later date on PC. In essence it's just a ball in a big box with goals at either end, but it also happens to be some of the most fun I've ever had on my PS4.

Rocket League is soccer (or football, if you prefer), but with a twist: players pilot rocket-powered RC cars in an enclosed arena where driving on the walls and ceiling is not only possible but oftentimes necessary to direct the ball in your favor. It almost falls into physics sandbox territory, but with a distinctive goal that gives real thrill and 'awesome' factor to every minute of madness.

The recent second beta of the game offers only one arena and one car, but even that honestly left me satisfied. Take my money, Psyonix!

Even so, the final game promises to deliver more. More modes of play, more arenas to play in, customizable vehicles, ranks, leaderboards, the whole shebang. As icing on the cake, there's even local splitscreen and fully-customizable controls.

Anyone remember San Fransisco Rush 2049 on the Nintendo 64? What made that game great was multiplayer, particularly in Stunt mode. While back then the physics were anything but realistic, the fun of the game was just seeing whose crazy stunts could outdo everyone else's crazy stunts. With Rocket League I get very much the same vibe as I got back then—an extreme rarity for modern consoles. Somehow it just manages to capture the essence of good ol' videogame fun, and it is delightful even if you're not a sports fan.

Rocket League Beta 2 will run through May 19, after which we'll have to wait until this summer to play it in full. But no doubt about it, it will be worth the wait.