Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rochard Impressions

I've been playing an enjoyable side scrolling puzzle platformer called Rochard and it is all about gravity, physics, space pirates and mysterious alien structures. I wrote an overview of this PSN exclusive back in September. It recently was released on PSN, on September 27th to mostly positive reviews. Feel free to take a look at a good chunk of the reviews here. In Rochard you essentially have a gravity gun (a mining tool) except all you do with it is manipulate objects, but they give you quite a lot to do with all the various objects. The mining tool is continuously upgraded throughout the game, allowing it to manipulate larger objects among other things. The most relate-able game is probably Little Big Planet, both games rely on using physics to get through the levels at the beginning of the game, but later on they both add weapons to the mix. My impressions come from the gig and a half large demo on PSN, a demo that lasts about thirty minutes. Rochard is created by the small studio of Recoil games.

The game starts out really slow and simple, by giving you some mechanical problems to deal with at the large mining facility that John Rochard works at. He is a leader of a team of miners, a team that constantly has very bad luck with their findings. His team is being threatened with termination, until they find a weird alien structure on the asteroid they are mining. While the starting environment is simple, gameplay wise, it looks quite well on the unity engine. All the controls are smooth and easy to learn. The first half of the demo has you dealing with different types of force fields, some that allow all bio-matter to pass through and others that only allow objects to pass through it. These puzzles are fairly straight forward, but they get a lot more interesting once you gain control of gravity. With the L1 button you can turn off gravity, after a certain point in the story, and once you do that you can move objects that were previously too heavy. You can also jump quite high when gravity is off. After you finish dealing with mundane physic puzzles, space pirates attack. I can happily say that the space pirates spice up the game a bit and add another level to the familiar gameplay. With the space pirates you acquire a gun/rifle of some kind, one that doesn't really do anything new, but it probably get's upgraded into something stronger later on. The story of Rochard doesn't seem spectacular, but it is entertaining and it has some decent voice acting.

Rochard bases everything upon physics based gameplay, something that the game does well, but it's not very innovative. Rochard is a small indie game that does a lot really well for it's small time, sure I've only played it's demo, but based on the many reviews I've seen I can say that the game does seem to get continually better throughout it's five chapters. It is only $10 and available exclusively on the Playstation Network, but they are planning on either expanding the game to different platforms or doing a follow up game that will be available on multiple platforms. Feel free to check out the website below and I will be back with more news tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
Main Website:

-Written by Sean Cargle


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