Rocket League has finally made its way to mobile, albeit in a slightly modified form. Rocket League Sideswipe pits teams of two against each other in a sport where the object is to use cars to knock a gigantic ball into a goal point. Since its launch earlier this week, we dove into the game to get a sense of how it stands in comparison to the original Rocket League as well as a standalone mobile experience. Watch the video above to view some extended gameplay of it and read on below for our thoughts on our time with it so far.
It seems the primary goal for the creators of Rocket League Sideswipe was to make an experience that feels as frenetic and tense as traditional matches of Rocket League but in a streamlined format that is easier to play in bursts and while using touch controls. For the most part, it seems developers Psyonix nailed this goal. By making the playing field a flat, 2D space and shortening matches to 2 minutes, Rocket League Sideswipe feels super satisfying to control and easy to play on-the-go whenever you have a few minutes.
Rocket League Sideswipe gives players three ways to play this modified version of Rocket League. Doubles seems to be the primary mode, which is a 2-on-2 match with raised, soccer-style goals that require players to boost to fly or arc jumps off the ground to fling the ball into the goal. Hoops is a similar mode except the goal points are modeled after oversized basketball hoops where shots need to go over a rim and through a hoop to score. And finally, there's a Duel mode which is a 1-on-1 version of Doubles.
Keeping its modes limited and straightforward is a smart move to prevent multiplayer queuing from ever getting too long, as nothing is worse than whipping out your phone to play a game and spending a ton of time waiting. To further combat this, Rocket League Sideswipe allows players to check any combination of modes they'd like to play to find the first available match of the selected types faster. After completing matches, you can also instantly rejoin the queue, which is a big reason why I've spent so much time playing it these past couple days. It's almost too easy to play another round.
As for the gameplay itself, Rocket League Sideswipe isn't nearly as complex as the original game, but it is a quality competitive multiplayer game in its own right. Vehicles control snappily, and there are some nifty in-game indicators that allow you to keep track of the way you're about to boost your car without ever having to look at the virtual control sticks. Despite being constrained to a 2D play field, the gameplay still feels like it has a high skill ceiling and can set up really dramatic matches that require teamwork, skill, and perhaps a little bit of luck.
On a final note, it's worth noting that Rocket League Sideswipe appears to buck the trend of popular console and PC titles creating mobile titles focused on monetization and free-to-play mechanics. Rocket League Sideswipe is free to download, but it has no in-app purchases of any kind and gives you immediate access to the three game modes it offers after a brief tutorial. All that said, Rocket League Sideswipe does have some in-game unlocks and a progression system for earning cosmetic items for your car, but as of this writing there is no way to pour money into that system to accelerate or bypass it.
We'll continue to play Rocket League Sideswipe for the next few days to see if this glowing first impression starts to fade over time, but for now, we couldn't be happier with it. Feel free to check it out for yourself! It's free, after all!