A mixture of platforming, sidescrolling shooting, and a unique gravity-warping twist, is Recoil Games’ PSN-exclusive creation Rochard worth your time and hard-earned money? Find out right now in our review.
Meet John Rochard. He’s the protagonist of this PSN adventure, and sounds like a trucker for some reason. He’s a miner, working for “the lowest-producing team in the solar system.” You control him as he utilizes his G-lifter gun to solve numerous puzzles and save the day. Rochard is full of one-liners, though many of those fall flat. The whole game’s comedy is largely hit-or-miss, and whether you will find this game funny or not really depends on your sense of humor. There are a few supporting characters who are fairly predictable, and the overall plot is incredibly easy to follow. It’s a good thing the gameplay of Rochard is actually really solid, because the story would not carry it too far.
The game’s main device, the G-lifter, is quite the versatile tool. While the multi-tool begins with only one ability, lifting certain objects much like the Zero Point Energy gun from the Half-Life series, you soon upgrade it to shoot bullets, grenades, and more. Towards the end of the game you combine all the G-lifter’s abilities to perform some impressive feats of acrobatics. Throughout much of the game you have the ability to alter your environment’s gravity, toggling between regular and low at the press of the L1 button. This makes for an interesting twist on puzzles involving lasers, platforming, enemies, turrets, fuses, and more elements that all combine to challenge your noggin. Answers to a given area will usually come to you within a few minutes of toying around with things. When you finish some of the later levels there is a rewarding feeling of satisfaction when you have that “aha!” moment and figure out the puzzle.
In terms of audio, Rochard has plenty of sci-fi, futuristic sound effects that fit right in. The game is fully voiced, and the delivery of each character is actually top-notch for a title at this price point. The game is presented in basic stereo, which is fine given that this is a PSN title. Music comes and goes as you enter and exit battle, and unfortunately there is no custom soundtrack support. Now sure, this game doesn’t really need that feature, but if you are going to go for a speed run to obtain a gold trophy tied to beating the game in under three hours, rushing through it to the tune of your own soundtrack would be welcome. This is definitely not a deal-breaker, though.
There are a few things about Rochard that may annoy some gamers. Those who prefer to figure things out on their own will want to ensure hints are off by default. With these on, the game throws hints at you within 20 seconds of beginning to solve a puzzle. The story is pretty shallow, and the enemies are not too bright. Once they find you, they just stand and fire, becoming sitting ducks in the process. The excellent puzzles and fun platforming more than make up for these flaws, however, and you have a solid title overall.
The PlayStation Network is no stranger to unique, innovative titles, and I can safely say that Rochard now stands among them. Sure, the story is predictable and the humor is definitely not for everyone, but when the platforming and puzzle solving is this fun you won’t really mind. This game is a nice length given the price, and replayability comes in the form of collecting all the hidden trophies and beating the game as quickly as you can. If developer Recoil Games has a sequel or expansion planned, I would love to see it as the world they have created has just enough uniqueness that it could easily be explored some more.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ G-lifter tool is extremely versatile, control over gravity is useful and not gimmicky.
– Story is predictable, humor is hit-or-miss.