Game Review: Rochard
Genre: Action, Platformer
Even if you’re not normally one for side scrolling games or platformers, Rochard will grab your attention with an iron fist. With fantastic science fiction visuals, this 2D side-scroller set in a 3D universe combines combat with puzzles in a way that will keep you coming back for more. From the voice acting, to the music and gameplay, this game is a perfect example of a great game.
Developed by Recoil Games, Rochard is a single player science fiction platformer developed in Unity 3D. Although technically a 2D side-scroller, the game is set in exceptional 3D scenery across multiple kinds of levels. Whether you are in a hanger, a mine, an office, or anything in between, the scenery and level design is imaginative. Each level and chapter has its own challenges, and Rochard must find ways to overcome them, armed with nothing but the G-Lifter (explained later) and his wits. Of course, that’s not all you have! The format of the game is not new to the industry, but goes about doing it in new ways, using cool physics mechanics and gameplay to enhance the puzzles that you come across as you race to save the universe.
This game is short, which in Rochard’s case, is not a bad thing. Even going for all of the collectables, the game takes around 4-5 hours to beat depending on your skill level. This may seem short to many, but for this game it works. You start the game off as John Rochard, a space miner who leads a failing team of miners for Skyrig Corporation, searching for a metal that has no bearing on the game. Without giving away any spoilers, your team comes under attack by space bandits. After discovering ancient ruins deep in the asteroid he is mining, John and his comrade Skyler begin an adventure to save the universe from a man bent on collecting the ultimate power.
Once starting the game, there is a striking resemblance to the art of Team Fortress 2, the music is pleasant and doesn’t interfere with the game at all, but enhances it, providing a nice background to a good looking game. Though the game is not a highly graphical one as many of the bigger games are, it still looks pretty good. The music is well done, not being overly loud or interfering with dialogue or keeping you from hearing the humorous screams and comments of the pirates and other enemies of the game. While on that subject, the voice acting is very well done, and lends well to the story, although there are a few blips here or there where dialogue was off from the scene or subtitles. The story is a pretty decent one, and without revealing anything to readers, it puts a good spin on everyone’s favorite subject, aliens! In the end, the game’s focus was not on its audio or its visuals.
The gameplay, however, is where the game excels. Everyone has played physics games before, that have you shooting things through the air and performing actions to get around obstacles. This game, however, takes physics and puts a wonderful science fiction twist on it. You start the game with your G-Lifter, a gravity gun that allows you to pick up crates, rip turrets off the walls, and send human enemies flying at each other. Through the game’s levels, you also pick up various upgrades to the G-Lifter, allowing Rochard to perform new tasks through the game. You later pick up a blaster to shoot enemies with, called the Rock Blaster, which you upgrade by getting new parts that are off the beaten path of the game, such as more power to the gun and more shots before overheating. To combine with the gravity gun, you also have control of gravity itself, allowing you to switching between full and low gravity to complete the puzzles you come across through the game. Once you have the gun and control of gravity, the fun never ends.
The puzzles and combat are really the “meat” of the game. Sure, the gravity game has been done before many, many times, but Recoil Games has perfected its first appearance in a 2D game. The puzzles of the game are expertly crafted to be fun and challenge and they do a great job to take what tools you are given and use them to their full extent. Most people think of puzzle based games as boring, but Rochard took the puzzle game, threw in some action, sweet gravity based tools, and ran with it. It can be said that they won the marathon they were running. The puzzles are challenging, and at times frustrating if you can’t wrap your head around them, but there is a decent amount of fun combat between them to keep you from getting tired of them. If you though puzzle games were simple, Rochard will make you rethink that, mixing puzzles with reflexes and timing to ensure the best gravity based puzzle action!
Trophy/Achievement section: The trophies for Rochard are not hard to accomplish, and as long as you are diligent and explore everything, you can get all but the speed run in your first play through. Overall, the game will take between 7 and 10 hours to get all of the trophies and achievements.
Rochard is the first game made in Unity3D for the PlayStation as well as the PC, and it shows the workings of a Unity3D game. The gameplay itself is fantastic, fast paced, and challenging. The story, plot and cutscenes, however are lacking in certain areas, although they are not bad. Unity has a solid backbone for gameplay, but there is still some room to grow when it comes to cut scenes. This is no reason to overlook the game however, as the gameplay is really the important part, right? The game is guaranteed to offer you hours of fun gravity-based puzzles, ugly space pirates and police to shoot, hit, squash, and launch through the air.