This Game Put Actual Rockets In Rocket League
Rocket Assault doesn’t shy away from challenging the player. The goal seems simple: reach the finish. Do it fast and shoot all the targets, and you’ll get three stars. But unless you’ve already gotten good at Rocket League, this game will make you work for it.
Since February 19, Rocket Assault has been available on Steam as an Early Access release. The game was developed by a single person, Giovanni Elgert. “I started this project five years ago,” he said, “without knowing anything about making video games. I've been doing this project in my free time since then.”
Like Rocket League, but different
A little over five years ago, Rocket League was released. That was when Giovanni’s plans for Rocket Assault began to take shape. “I’ve always wanted to make a game. I had ideas about a ship doing missions through tight spots. When I played Rocket League for the first time, I fell in love with the amount of control you get with the mechanics of the game, so I decided to try something similar. I ended up with a mix of my original idea and the game mechanics inspired by Rocket League.”
Rocket Assault shares a lot of concepts with Rocket League, but takes them in a different direction. In this game, you’re not stuck in an arena, but you make your way through all the different levels, each with their own twists and turns. There are cosmetic items, too, with separate decals for the wings and the underside of the hovercraft-like vehicle. You can even change the colour of the headlights.
Just as in Rocket League, you get to jump and flip wherever you like. It feels slightly different, though. A flip in Rocket League is always level with the ground, but a flip that’s angled upwards will take you higher off the ground in Rocket Assault. After you jump, your second jump doesn’t have to be used immediately, so you get a little more freedom with the flips.
To help your floating car go fast, you get to use a lot of boost. Not only does the boost make you speedier than in Rocket League, but there’s also more of it. You’ll quickly notice that you won’t run out of boost that much, as it gets refilled quite often. When even that is not enough, you probably messed up already, so it’s easier to restart.
Everything about Rocket Assault is unforgiving. Crashing into a wall or the ground quickly empties your health bar, so proceed with caution. There are no checkpoints, so restarting means spawning back at the very start of the level. You do have to collect all the keys on your path to unlock the finish gate, though. Missing a key and bonking into the locked gate is maybe the worst way to ruin a run.
Speed and rockets
That doesn’t mean it can’t be a relaxing experience, though. The game takes you through all kinds of landscapes, from a peaceful harbour and a dry canyon, to an alien planet straight out of The Matrix. The upbeat soundtrack creates a beautiful background for satisfying wallrides, tight drifts, and lots and lots of speeeeeed.
And we haven’t even talked about the rockets yet! The name of the game says it all. Not only do you get to destroy targets over a long-range - or a short-range, if you like to live on the edge - you also get bombarded with guided missiles, trying to take you down. You simply have to dodge out of the way, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, there is a training level to help you practise that skill. Shooting rockets is done by aiming the car at the targets. The game includes a bullet mode, which you can activate by holding a button. That mode slows down everything, so you get a little more time to aim at the floating or flying targets. You need to destroy all targets and set a good time to get three stars.
Full release on Steam and consoles
Console players rejoice: Rocket Assault is coming to the Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. Rocket League players on Steam have access to Steam Workshop maps and plugins to spice things up, but console players are left in the dark. With Rocket Assault, they also get to experience Rocket League mechanics in crazy environments.
Rocket Assault currently has 21 levels, with more on the way. Giovanni said he’s learning a great deal from this Early Access release, and he plans to improve the game further. So, what’s in the pipeline?
“I’m excited about improving the leaderboards, sharing ghosts between friends, or racing against the fastest ghost. I also want to add run verifications and report suspicious runs. We don't have any cheaters at the moment, but that might change in the future. And there’s more: maps and challenges that can only be played for a limited time, with the top players of the leaderboards getting special rewards, like items or trophies. I plan to add all this for the full release on Steam and consoles by the end of the year.”
Starting next month, Giovanni will be working on this project full time, so he expects things to speed up. Let’s see where the rockets go!
Images via Giovanni Elgert