Rocket League is a physics-based vehicle sports game developed and published by Psyonix. The game is best described as soccer with rocket-powered cars. It is a sequel to the 2008 PlayStation 3 game Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, which describes your vehicles as well as their capabilities of boosting and jumping.
The game flows as follows - two teams of up to four vehicles compete to knock a giant ball into the opposing goal. The standard game length is five minutes, with whichever team having the most points at the end winning, and a Tiebreaker Round happening in case of a tie.
Fairly simple rules, but the actual gameplay, much like the sport it's based on, has lots of strategy that can be employed. For instance, the arena is littered with pads that increase your boost (that regenerate a few seconds after consumption). Boost is a limited resource that increases your car's speed, and is essential for executing skillful aerial play, making its acquisition and management essential. The competitive and strategic nature of the game has led to it having an active eSports scene.
The game also includes variations of its standard soccer-based gameplay mode (called Soccar). Major examples include Snow Day, in which the soccer ball is replaced with a puck with different physics, making the game loosely feel like Ice Hockey; Hoops, in which the net's shape and the ball's physics are changed to resemble Basketball; Rumble, which is a variant of Soccar in which players are randomly given PowerUps; and Dropshot, in which players must hit the ball into the floor to damage it, so that the ball can be dropped into the floor to score. Several other variations have been released as limited time events (some of which can be recreated in custom matches with the appropriate settings).
Rocket League was released in July 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows (on Steam), with a Mac and Linux Port being released September 6, 2016 (again via Steam). The game also includes cross-platform play between the PC versions and the PS4 Version. An Xbox One version was released in February 2016, although Microsoft's policies kept that version relegated to between Xbox Live gamers until May 24, 2016 (sometime after Microsoft loosened those policies), which on that date the Xbox One version also received cross-platform gameplay between it and PC. PS4 and Xbox One gamers finally got to play with one another in mid-2019, after Sony loosened their rules on cross-play. A version for the Nintendo Switch is released in November 2017, complete with cross-play support as well as some exclusive skins themed after the Super Mario and Metroid series.
On May 1, 2019, Psyonix announced that the company was acquired by Epic Games. In September 2020, the game was delisted from Steam and made available for free on the Epic Games Store (though updates continue to be released for those who purchased the game on Steam). The game also went free-to-play on all platforms in September 2020.
A spin-off Racing Game developed by Psyonix, Rocket Racing, was released in December 2023. It is available in Fortnite, another Epic Games property. Some cosmetics can be shared between both games provided you are logged into the same Epic account.
Rocket League provides examples of:
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: At the end of every match, you earn a new cosmetic item. These include hats, wheels, paint patterns, and rocket boost trails.
- Anti-Frustration Features: This game has been released on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but only PC players can really type messages to their team. That's why there are 16 different quick messages, 4 of which are informative and 12 other ones are reaction messages, making it possible for console players to be able to communicate with other players.
- Artificial Stupidity: The bots are not the brightest around. Some of the hair-pulling behaviour you will see from your bot teammates include blocking your shots on the opposing team's goal, crashing into you and sending you flying across the field at the worst possible time, taking shots on your own goal (sometimes literally carrying the ball in a perfectly straight line from the opposing team's side of the field right into your goal), and most famously, "humping" the walls (accelerating and reversing in about a three-foot space because the AI doesn't handle the wall ramps well). It happens most often with the bots set to the easiest difficulty, but it can still happen occasionally on the higher ones. Also, you'll rarely see this from your bot ''opponents'', regardless of difficulty, unless they also have human teammates to screw over.
- Awesome, yet Impractical: Unless you are extremely practiced with them, aerials will more often than not take you out of the play than they will score that awesome flip-reset to slam dunk. At higher levels, being taken out of the play all-but-guarantees the opposing team/player a goal, especially if they properly distribute the ball to keep your teammates guessing.
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: When someone scores a goal, the ball explodes. You can even customize the explosion!
- Badass Driver: All participants in Rocket League are required to be ones to score goals and succeed.
- Boring Yet Practical:
- Game sense goes a long way in helping someone climb the ranks compared to the flashy aerials that skilled and practiced players can do. Even players with next to no aerial ability can still climb high if they know when to move back to play defense when they sense a shift in play.
- Camera settings. The default camera angle cuts off a lot of a player's vision and field of view, making it difficult for them to see enemy players (especially when dribbling) and generally anything wider out than the narrow angle it starts at. Pro players use a pretty uniform set of stats because they offer the best balance of peripheral vision and keeping the camera close enough to the player's car to allow them to better control the ball. Simply being able to see more of the field goes a long way.
- Car Fu: Encouraged, as going fast enough enables you to ram other cars and make them explode, taking them out of the game for a few seconds.
- Character Customization: Loads of it, you can customize your cars' paint jobs, wheels, hats, antennae, boosts, trails...
- Cherry Tapping: There are a number of vehicles that are excellent at maneuverability, acceleration, etc, and those are the ones you're almost guaranteed to see at least one of in every ranked match. Then there are the Backfire, Roadhog, Scarab, and so on, which are almost rarely ever used because there are much better (and much worse) options. And then there's the Merc. It is massive, it has one of the worst turn ratios, it takes longer than most other cars to accelerate to full speed, both without boost and with boost, and up until the hitboxes were standardized, its boxy shape would make it unpredictable when the ball hit anything in any way that wasn't head-on. For these reasons, any time the Merc is used in a competitive setting, the person using it is almost always looking to humiliate their opponent.
- Color-Coded Item Tiers:
- Common = black
- Uncommon = light blue
- Rare = deep blue
- Very Rare = red
- Import = yellow
- Blackmarket = pink
- Cool Car: All the cars in the game can count as this, the game also includes customization options for them.
- Downloadable Content: Occasionally, new cosmetic items are put up that can be purchased with real money.
- The Supersonic Fury pack gives 2 new cars with all decals, 5 paint types, 2 hats, and 2 sets of wheels.
- The Revenge of the Battle-Cars pack also gives 2 cars from SARPBC, along with 3 toon versions of paint types, 2 wheels, 2 rocket trails, 4 toppers, and 2 antennas.
- The DeLorean is also available as DLC. Yes, that DeLorean.
- The Chaos Run pack also gives 2 new cars, 2 paint types, 2 sets of wheels, 2 rocket trails, 3 toppers and 3 antennas.
- Various incarnations of the Batmobile are available too. This includes the ones from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Rises, and the 1989 film.
- The Hoops update gives 30 flags based on 30 basketball teams.
- The Neo-Tokyo update releases 4 cars (2 from SARPBC, 2 anime-themed cars) sold separately.
- The Aquadome update releases 2 new cars sold separately.
- The Starbase Arc update releases only 1 car.
- Two Hot Wheels cars (Twin Mill III and the Bone Shaker) were released for purchase.
- Vehicles from the Fast & Furious movies have also been released.
- And now we can throw in the Ecto-1 too.
- Don't forget KITT too.
- Gratuitous English: The Japanese announcer at Neo Tokyo will shout things like "Epiku Saevu!" (Epic save) or "GOOOOOOLUUUUU!" (goal).
- Guest Fighter:
- Sweet Tooth is an obtainable vehicle in the PlayStation 4 version.
- The aforementioned DeLorean, Batmobile, Hot Wheels, Fast & Furious, McLaren and Ghostbusters cars.
- The Xbox One version has vehicles based on the ones seen in Gears of War and Halo.
- The Switch version has two vehicles based on Nintendo franchises: one that represents Super Mario Bros. (with one color scheme based on Mario and another based on Luigi) and another modeled after Samus Aran's gunship from Metroid (with an alternate color scheme based on Samus' Zero Suit).
- The Jurassic Park/Jurassic World jeep wrangler.
- The Ecto-1 is also present.
- KITT as well.
- The Battle Bus from Fortnite joins up in 2020 as part of a Crossover event.
- Lightning McQueen was added in 2023.
- I Meant to Do That: "Calculated." Most often used by players after something flukey or (un)fortunate happens during the game, and almost always for comedy rather than being used seriously.
- Memetic Mutation: Many of the preset text messages (accessible via button shortcuts and are cross-platform unlike custom text messages) have become this. This is mainly because if you rapidly press a message's shortcut, you'll send it 3-4 times in a row before seeing a message such as "Chat disabled for 3 seconds." Perhaps the most memetic preset message is "What a save!", which more often than not, is used to sarcastically mock a player who failed to save, rather than a praise of a successful save.
- Nitro Boost: Available for all cars. It's accumulated by driving over special pads scattered around the playfield, with six containing a special sphere that maxes out your vehicle's boost.
- No Plot? No Problem!: There is no story mode; it's basically your typical sports simulation game, just about a physically-impossible game that doesn't exist.
- Orange/Blue Contrast: In normal online matches, the colors for the two teams are blue and orange. If colorblind/high-contrast mode is enabled, the nameplates and font colors shift to a darker blue and a bright (almost neon) yellow.
- Port Overdosed: This game has been ported to pretty much every 8th generation platform. In 2015, the game initially started with the [[Playstation 4, Xbox One, and a PC port, which then got expanded upon to include MacOS and Linux in 2016, with a Nintendo Switch port releasing in 2018. It's entirely possible, thanks to cross-play, that all of your mates from each platform can be in one online lobby. What a time to be alive.
- Product Placement: Well, to call these things "product placement" is a bit much, but to call them crossover items isn't really fully accurate either. Anyway, players can customize their cars with various items based on other video games (such as Fallout and Portal) or have community flags based on popular online communities on their antennae (such as Rooster Teeth and two of its divisions, Twitch, IGN, and Reddit).
- Somewhat played straight with the Hot Wheels and Fast & Furious cars.
- Rule of Cool: The game's premise runs on this. It's soccer with rocket-powered cars. Why? Because it's cool and over-the-top.
- The Japanese tuner styled car from Supersonic Fury DLC is called Takumi.
- One AI team is called the Dragons, and are named after nicknames for characters from Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire; Imp (Tyrion Lannister), Hound (Sandor Clegane), Mountain (Gregor Clegane) and Viper (Oberyn Martell).
- Another AI team, the Bombers, are named after famous ghosts: Casper, Samara, Marley, and Myrtle. The Rovers are collectively named after astronauts (Armstrong, Buzz, Shepard) and a cosmonaut (Yuri).
- And another AI team called Team Rocket.
- The Chaos Run pack.
- Neo-Tokyo and its cars are both themed around anime. One of the cars, the Esper, is mentioned to resemble a bike.
- The Starbase Arc is themed around space, and the aformentioned car in this update is called the Vulcan.
- Stealth Pun: It’s a game about playing sports with cars, so you’re driving LITERAL sports cars!
- Stuff Blowing Up: The ball explodes after every goal.
- Swap Teleportation: One of the power-ups in Rumble Mode will swap your car with an opponent's car. You two will also swap position, direction, velocity, and orientation. Have fun.