Rocket League was an instant hit when it launched on consoles and the PC back in 2015. An unusual mixture of football and rocket-propelled cars complete with sleek graphics and a tonne of unlockables that’s yet to show any sign of slowing in popularity. With the popularity of Nintendo’s latest console, it’s unsurprising that fans called out for a portable version.
The core concept of Rocket League on the Nintendo Switch is identical to all other versions, so for a more in-depth look at what we thought of the game, check out my previous review on the PlayStation 4 version here.
Psyonix has managed an impressive feat by porting Rocket League over to the Nintendo Switch. With the consoles lower graphical output the team was challenged with creating a version of the game that not only ran smoothly on the Switch but still looked good. While it’s true there is a significant graphical difference between this version and its bigger brothers, Rocket League on the Switch plays just as well and is every portable gamer’s dream come true; however, if you love high definition visuals this iteration is not for you. The trade-off is a game that runs smoothly in both docked and handheld mode while still looking good enough.
And I think that’s the appeal of Rocket League on the move. As handheld gamers, we’ve been conditioned to accept that a handheld console just can’t handle the same output that home console or even a PC can, but the Switch changes everything. We’re not given a watered down version of the game; as mentioned above, the game is identical to all other versions of the game in every other aspect. All of the game modes are present, the skins and all other unlocks are all there. I was even surprised to see that players are able to trade items with one another just like the Xbox One and PC instalments. It goes to show just how much work Psyonix has put into Nintendo’s newest family member; and honestly, I think it’s paid off.
Jumping into an online match is seamless and simple, unlike Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which is still, to this day, plagued with connection errors and a complete lack of party system. Psyonix has shown just how well online can work with the Switch and how the service could be one that we don’t mind paying for. From the main screen its as simple as pressing X to see which friends are online. Invite them to your game and they’re part of your party and ready to take on the world by your side. It’s slick and works so well. Nintendo would do well to take note and perhaps implement something similar to their future online titles. It’s worth noting as well that I played a fair amount over a 4G network with minimal issues.
In addition to the online mode working so well, it’s important to note that Rocket League is the first game to utilise cross-network play with the Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. Because of this players are nearly always able to join a match, with a vast player pool from all three consoles available to jump into a match. Though playing with friends across platforms is a little tricky and at the moment there’s no way to invite a friend from another platform into a party. I feel that Psyonix has missed a trick with not adding this feature; it’s something I’m sure many a fan would like to see integrated.
The addition of Nintendo exclusive battle cars and unlockables is a nice touch and pays homage to the fans that the game is catering for but it’s disappointing to know that players on other systems cannot see your badge of honour; they come up as bog standard skins. I understand that this is likely due to licensing restrictions and it honestly doesn’t impair the game in any way, shape or form but for Psyonix to work so hard to get cross-platform play working so well, it would have been nice to flaunt the fact that you could be sat anywhere other than inside while playing.
If you’ve not yet picked up a copy of Rocket League on any console and enjoy playing on the go then the Switch version is a no-brainer. Sure, there’s a slight downgrade in the graphical department but the trade-off is totally worth it. On the other hand, if you can’t live without anti-aliasing and crisp, sharp visuals then you may want to look at the other versions. With that being said, it’s purely down to preference. Personally, I find the portability of Switch outweighs any of the negatives; I just wish Psyonix would introduce a cross-platform account system to allow me to import my PC user account.