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Rocket League Switch Review

  • First Released Jul 7, 2015
  • Reviewed Nov 14, 2017
  • NS

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Rocket League was a phenomenon when it debuted in 2015, and two years later it shows no signs of slowing down. The unorthodox sports game is a mix of soccer and vehicular acrobatics that's immediately engaging, but a high skill ceiling ensures that you can put hundreds of hours into Rocket League online and continue to improve your control over car and ball alike. In our original review, editor Miguel Concepcion said "the promising concept of combining two wonderful things--cars and soccer--is equally magnificent in execution." It's unique, it's complex, and now that it's on the Nintendo Switch, it's wonderfully portable.

Rocket League makes the leap to handheld courtesy of developer Panic Button, the same team responsible for the respectable Switch port of Doom. And similar to that conversion, Rocket League's visuals have been somewhat stripped down to maintain a steady frame rate under the Switch's hardware limitations. The impact of the downgraded visuals can be seen in jagged edges and fluctuating texture resolutions, but unlike a game that relies on a world to set the stage for characters and narrative events, Rocket League's Switch scars are easily overlooked. The only time they can interfere is when playing handheld, where choppy models make it difficult to differentiate between objects in the foreground and background on Switch's small display. This, thankfully, is rarely an issue.

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When you're focused on a handful of other drivers and protecting your goal from a fast-moving ball, jaggies are the least of your concerns. And when subconsciously calculating your trajectory as you ramp up onto a wall and blast your rockets for a last-minute boost to slam a ball into the back of a goal from mid-air, you probably aren't focused on a blurry texture here or there. Rocket League on Switch isn't always a pretty game, but that doesn't stop if from being every bit as exciting and competitive as it is on other platforms. As someone who has spent upwards of 200 hours with Rocket League on PS4, I was pleased to find that jumping into matches on Switch was just as easy as before, in terms of both matchmaking and controlling my car on the field--thanks in part to the rock-solid frame rate.

The game's Nintendo-exclusive rides and their series-appropriate sound effects are small if charming touches that make the Switch version feel slightly more special than it otherwise would have. But the big new feature is local splitscreen play on the go. Relative to the constraints of playing on a small screen, it works as well as you'd hope, to say nothing of the surprising effectiveness of controlling your car with a mere single joycon. Small and short a few buttons, they still cover almost every input on traditional controller setups. The one notable exception is the lack of a second analog stick for camera control when you aren't locked onto the ball.

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Switch players can engage in cross-network play with Rocket League's Xbox One and PC community. As evidenced during our pre-launch tests, this system works without a hitch, and matches are readily available. The one minor caveat when it comes to playing online with others is that creating custom messages mid-match is less convenient than usual. This is because toggling chat brings up a window that takes up the entire screen, leaving you without the usual live feed that runs in the background in other versions of the game. You do have the option of connecting a USB keyboard if you want to type out messages while your Switch is docked, which can help speed up the process.

Save for its presentation, Rocket League on Switch is every bit the game it is elsewhere, and when you factor in its newfound portability, it's also the most versatile. That alone makes it attractive to regular Rocket League competitors.

For people new to the game, they have a lot to look forward to regardless, as it's one of the most fascinating sports games in memory. Nevermind if you don't like soccer or couldn't care less about the growing esports community. Rocket League is a unique game that redefines the concept of what a sports game can be, and Psyonix continues to support it with new content on a regular basis. It's been around for a while, but now that it's on Switch, there's no better time to give it a shot.

Editor's note: for a more in-depth analysis of Rocket League, check out our original review from July, 2015.

Back To Top
The Good
An inventive twist on soccer that's easy to love
Great online multiplayer modes and features
Portable Rocket League with minimal compromises
Joycon-based local multiplayer works better than expected
The Bad
Downgraded graphics may occasionally interfere with your depth perception
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Rocket League

About the Author

Peter has played roughly 200 hours of Rocket League on PS4, and he put in 40 matches on Switch before writing his review. A copy Rocket League was provided by Psyonix.
43 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for yann1337

Just bought it, never played it before, I really like it, awesome.

Avatar image for gameroutlawzz

The game would be much better if it wasnt for the garbage camera. Youre either forced to stick to the stupid ball or have to constantly hold the fucking stick to keep the camera turned otherwise it automatically goes back behind your car by default which is pretty annoying.

Avatar image for Ezioprez9709

Amazing game. Got it for free with PS+ and eventually earned the platinum for it. Switch owners will love this.

Avatar image for deactivated-5a5f623fa2551

@Ezioprez9709: I still can't believe I didn't spend a penny for this game. What a great PS+ title.

I am actually trying to rationalize buying the Switch version by thinking, "Well, I didn't pay anything for it on PS4. Maybe I owe the devs a few ducats."

Avatar image for Ezioprez9709

@IceJester45: I like your thinking.

Avatar image for swimbearuk

I bought it, and I like the gameplay. I just wish they had more single player tournaments. Season is fun, but I want to play knockouts, other game types/modifiers. Not sure if it's possible to modify matches already outside of exhibition (i.e. For season mode), and I just haven't found the option?

Avatar image for killerious

Superb game, love it!

Avatar image for stewart24

I have put in hundreds of hours on the Xbox with this game. It's a must buy.

Avatar image for agent00bling

Hey whatever this is great news for Switch gamers. It's a fantastic game that everyone should play. Have fun!

Avatar image for swimbearuk

Was the gameplay in the video just a selection of goals? I've played rocket league quite a lot, and I still can't get my car to hit a moving/bouncing ball reliably, especially to aim the ball at the goal. Most matches degenerate into chasing the ball around and just trying to hit it towards the goal and hoping I get lucky. I hope I'm not the only one who has this trouble?

Avatar image for Reddevil66666

@swimbearuk: Movements both of this player and his rivals in this video are very, very basic. No use of the wall, not even one aereal move is shown in this video. The level of players in this video are super basic. But that's the beauty of it, what you think is amazing you will discover after some time that it wasn't, and you will continue to slowly progress and move up in the ranks. After 1400 hours spent in this game I still have plenty to learn and I still have tons of fun with it. That is all that matters.

Avatar image for hankosanko

has is got oceania servers? because it took them a while to bring to xbox

Avatar image for Abdulrahman1981

Other than some Nintendo exclusives, developers are releasing games that came out on other consoles on the Switch. It needs games like No More Heroes or it will end up like Wii U

Avatar image for JustPlainLucas

@Abdulrahman1981: You DO know that a new No More Heroes is in the works, right? And no, it's not going the way of the Wii U, because it's already surpassed it.

Avatar image for Itzsfo0

@Abdulrahman1981: its already surpassed the wii u,

Avatar image for rglgathrawn

@Abdulrahman1981: You do realize that same argument can be applied to the PS4 and MOST DEFINITELY the Xbox One, right? Hell, the Wii U had more exclusives in a single year than the Xbox One has had in its entire lifespan. And that's really sad.

Avatar image for silv3rst0rm

Peter is one heck of a RL player!

Lots of great moves in the video review!

I didn't play it much but I'm FAR from being able to have such control...

Avatar image for pcgameboy

LOVE Rocket League on the Switch! Best version imo, and i got it on PC. Some visual downgrades, but the portability makes up for it.

Avatar image for Itzsfo0

@timmyp1982: who cares - runs fine, more options. Besides RL is something to pass the time till the true masterpiece Hollow Knight arrives (and Team Cherry has already show-cased it, runs beautiful on the Switch). I have the PS4 version, not a huge downgrade. Besides already a cart-sim on the system.

Avatar image for petermavreas

@timmyp1982: you here to cry?

Avatar image for gamersince78

@pcgameboy: best version? Are you on crack? And you have it on PC? you are either the biggest nintendo fanboy in history or your PC is a pentium 1 from the 90's.

Best version lol...what is it 10 frames per second? give me a break.

It is ok to like it, glad it runs on switch, but I also look forward to blowing the doors of nintendo players in crossplay lol

Avatar image for pcgameboy

@gamersince78: The game runs at a fine framerate. lol Most XB1, and PS4 games run at 30fps yet i don't see anyone bitching about that. This game mostly runs at 60fps on Switch with a few dips to 40fps sometimes, but being able to play the game anywhere makes it the best version for me. Even though i can play i at 144fps on my PC. I have GXT 1080 and an I7 7700k. Looks, and plays the best, but not being able to take it anywhere sucks imo.

Avatar image for Litchie

Since GameSpot suck at writing reviews, does anyone know if split-screen is 4 player or 2 player only? And if 4 player, can you play 4 player split screen online?

Avatar image for killerious

@Litchie: Can you keep your frustrations to yourself :)

Avatar image for Litchie

@killerious: Yeah, but I wont. :)

Avatar image for highlar

I can verify that split screen in either docked OR table top mode is GREAT fun. Played a few rounds with my daughters tonight, and it was a blast. You can even do split screen online matches with others. And single joycon play? Sweet as can be. The basic controls for the game only use direction stick, ZR/ZL, A, B, and Y (with X toggling camera to ball mode on and off). So with single joycons, all of the needed buttons are still there. And no, you don't notice any graphical hiccups while zooming around the field, blasting past opponents, and working to score that sweet sweet goal. For a first time player of Rocket League (I've held out on getting it because I'd heard it was coming to Switch), the offline split-screen well as multi-Switch matches for pick-up games wherever I go...I know are going to be a hit around this house. I can already feel the adrenaline rush from this game becoming something of an addiction around here.

Avatar image for silv3rst0rm

@highlar: I wonder how I could cope with only 1 analog stick playing RL!

I'm CONSTANTLY moving the camera around with my 2nd analog stick on PS4...

Avatar image for alissa914

@silv3rst0rm: That's why I hope they'll give us motion controls for camera views in a future version. After using that on Splatoon 2 now without even realizing it, it's a great feature.

Avatar image for fiesel

What a save!

Avatar image for patriotplayer90

One of the best multiplayer game of all time. No matter the platform, it's amazing and never gets old.

Avatar image for sakaixx

Seems like crossplay works wonders. Very nice on nintendo part for getting the crossplay with its still small base.

Avatar image for deactivated-5a26032528a9b

EA: No. Stop. What are you doing? Pay attention to us.

Rocket Lea*stops to pay attention*gue.

Avatar image for tonyleo01

Can't wait to get it on the Switch! Too bad my other copy is on the PS4.

Avatar image for KBABZ

Worth noting of course that the Switch version of Rocket League has a lot more content on launch compared to the PS4's one, with tons more cars, many more online-unlockable items, three times the stadiums, Rocket Labs maps, and two extra game modes in Dropshot and Hoops. About the only thing that hasn't been expanded is the Season mode!

Avatar image for zmanbarzel

@KBABZ: Also worth noting of course that at launch on the PS4, "Rocket League" was free to PS Plus members.

Avatar image for KBFloYd

thanks for the unbiased review. screw the haters

Avatar image for Bowser05

@KBFloYd: So if one doesn't like the game and they give legitimate reasons for it, they'd be bias?

Avatar image for videogameninja

The addiction is now portable!


Rocket League More Info

  • First Released Jul 7, 2015
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 4 more
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Rocket League is a visceral, high-octane, physics-based vehicle sports game that lets you choose one of a variety of high-flying cars equipped with huge rocket boosters.
    Average Rating380 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Rocket League
    Developed by:
    Psyonix, Panic Button
    Published by:
    Psyonix, Nintendo, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, 505 Games
    Arcade, Soccer, Sports, Team-Based
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Mild Lyrics