Developed By: Psyonix Studios
Published By: Psyonix Studios
Platforms: Mobile Android / iOS
Reviewed On: Samsung Z Fold 3 (Android)
When Rocket League came to console (from PC), I was cheering like mad. I had always imagined that a game like that would work wonderfully well on the control schemes of a controller and I was right. From the game’s simple control structure to its amazing art style and graphics, Rocket League didn’t fail to impress.
But like any other game transiting into the mobile market, I was worried about the implementation. No doubt, the game would need to be tuned down and refitted to suit the mobile gaming environment and my question was; Will Rocket League Sideswipe still be as fun as the original Rocket League game? Luckily for myself and other RL fans out there, the answer is yes.
Sideswipe is a rather straightforward game. Developer Psyonix had turned Rocket League’s 3D-360 degree playing field into a 360-degree-landscape Fighting-Style-2D game. This is still the chaotic car-football game where both teams appear on the opposite side (left and right) and do their best to smack the ball into each other’s goal. The team with the highest score takes the game.
Compared to the traditional Rocket League game on PC and Console, Sideswipe places more emphasis on aerial action or vertical play. Because cars can only move forward and backward on the ground, aerial-play is where most of the battles take place now. So, expect to see players pulling more aerial stunts here and the high likelihood is, you’d be doing the same too. On the ground, boosters now recharge automatically when the car touches the ground or wall, and I noticed that vehicle collisions have been removed.
Just as in the old Rocket League game, the controls are simple and basic and this is one of the reasons why I love this developer. It’s their ability to not overcomplicate control schemes even in their bid to introduce more depth to the gameplay. Instead, they played around with things like Ball physics, game modes, customisable rules, and more to achieve that. Sideswipe is easy to play but would take a while to master. The left button on the screen to point where the car faces, and the two buttons on the right to either jump or boost. It’s a simple three-button game and yet it has put me on the edge of my seat throughout my experience in it.
It must have been my fourth game or so online when I was matched against someone who can skillfully flick his car in the air and score unchallenged. He was unchallenged because my teammate and I were evidently new and still figuring out the controls and trying to get the car go where we want it to. It was intimidating to see someone being this good already and he/she was driving up the wall before springing away to hit the ball mid-air, sending it into our goal while I tried hopelessly to take off from the ground to block it, only to fail and went the wrong way instead. It was a 2-minutes long massacre in what felt like a match that lasted forever. It was brutal but it also opened my eyes to what’s possible in this game and I found relief in knowing that the old gold-and-rainbow tricks and stunts are doable here and that Sideswipe wasn’t going to be dull and boring in the long run.
Players looking to hone their skills can do so via offline matches against bots, but the progression bar and unlockables can only be obtained via online multiplayer games. I could choose to play a 1v1, or a 2v2 Football mode, or a 2v2 Basketball mode. I am not sure if Psyonix would add more modes and options in the future, but based on the developer’s past actions on the PC and Console side so far, this possibility looks promising.
Being the free-to-play game that it is, Sideswipe comes with a microtransaction market that’s empty at the moment. The developer will likely begin to furnish the store soon but I doubt this would have any bad effect on the gameplay. The most we’d see is probably some people fly around flamboyantly with their cars farting out rainbows and stars while the helpless majority of us watching and hoping they would crash.
Graphic-wise, the game is okay and you can even set the grass detail to high if that’s what matters to you. And as if to show how confident they are with their game, there’s an FPS counter that players can enable. I enabled it and was unsurprised at how the game was running at a consistent rate of 60 frames-per-second.
As the above review information revealed, I played the game on the Samsung Z Fold 3, which only enhanced the gameplay experience especially with the bigger screen size and ample room for my fingers to hit the buttons. The game’s setting allows for two-button sizes – Small, Medium, and Large, and since I have big thumbs, the Small and Medium-sized buttons always invite input errors. Playing the game with a bigger-sized button on a normal phone is fine but I find it distracting my view a little, but on the Z Fold 3, however, the advantage is obvious. The bigger screen also allows for the game’s detailed graphics to be fully appreciated.
The only downer on the Z Fold 3 is the menu layout of the game was obviously designed not with the Z Fold 3’s screen in mind. As the result, some of the buttons appear to overlap one another but thankfully, that didn’t make navigation impossible. Just minor inconvenience is all. Gameplay experience-wise, it was fine.
What I Liked About The Game
- Still, a Rocket League game that’s simple to play and have fun in.
- Almost the same quality of graphics as the Console/PC version of the game on mobile.
- Bugless and errorless experience so far.
What I Wished Was Better
- Nothing so far, surprisingly.
I was actually expecting bugs and unhappy findings to greet me anytime throughout my experience but surprisingly, there was none. Or maybe they did appear, but their effects were so subtle that it wasn’t worth my attention. The developer had all the right ingredients to make a good game out of Sideswipe but at the same time, things could as easily go the other way too. I am just glad that for the positive outcome and for the fact that I now have a new favourite mobile game to indulge in.