Rochard is an indie developed by Recoil Games and is available on PSN and Steam for roughly 10 bucks. It’s a side scrolling puzzle-platforming game with some elements of a shooter.
The player is John Rochard, the supervisor of a team of space miners working for a company called “Skyrig”. They crew goes from asteroid to asteroid to find and extract fuel. Unfortunately, the team never finds anything of use and their ship breaks all the time. Along with John Rochard is Skyler Hanson, the tech expert of the team and Zander, the main operator on the ship. Their boss, Mr. Maxmillian, had enough of the crew’s poor results and decided to terminate their contract. Luckily, they find something mysterious that excites Maxmilian, but captures the attention of space pirates in the process. As the story progresses, it appears that everything is connected and the mystery behind the object they found is reveled. The story has a slow start and seems to be too predictable at first, but as it moves along, the story begins to improve; steeping way from a generic storyline and becomes generally interesting.
You Just Had to Ask
As mentioned, the game is a side scroller/puzzle hybrid. The main tool in the game is the
“G-Lifter”. The G-Lifter is a device that can attract objects from a distance and can also expel them away. The G-lifter can also be upgraded for further usage. When holding an object, for example a box, the G-Lifter will output a prediction line to where the box will go when you throw it. Players can then take out enemies by throwing objects at them using their G-lifter. G-lifter upgrades are given to the player as part of the objectives in the story.
One of the first upgrades is the “Rock Blaster”. The Rock Blaster is the equivalent to a gun in this game and can be used to take out enemies, destroy doors, or help solve puzzles. However, the game doesn’t want the player to be solely dependent on shooting all enemies using the Rock Blaster all the time. Instead the player will need to use the environment in certain situations to be able to defeat enemies, keeping gameplay varied.
John Holding a Battery While Standing on a Red Light Gate
Common objects used in the levels of the game are crates and power batteries. The crates can be used to reach higher locations, to knock out enemies by throwing them via the G-Lifter, and for doing Recoil Jumps in low gravity. Lowering gravity can be activated using an upgraded G-Lifter early on in the game and can be used at any time. When in low gravity the player can jump higher, throw objects further, and carry heavier objects using the G-Lifter. This lessens fall damage and enables the use of the Recoil Jump by expelling an object downwards in mid-air; then being pushed upwards by the recoil. The second element in the levels are the power batteries.
Oh It Gets Even Better Later
Batteries power doors and different types of light gates. Therefore pulling one from the socket will deactivate whatever it was connected to. There are different types of batteries, each with its own color. The red gate only blocks animate objects from passing, the blue gate blocks inanimate objects, the yellow gates blocks explosives and Rock Blaster Shots and the white gate blocks everything. Some stages will also have inverted gravity areas that makes the player play upside down. These stages can be confusing but shouldn’t be too hard to the player. The game shows the player these different elements one step at a time so the player won’t get overwhelmed. The spacing between each feature is very well done too. As soon as the player learns the function of one element, for example the red gates, and passes that level he will get a new type of gate in the next level including another red gate. This pacing makes the game non-repetitive and gives the player the feeling of progression. The game becomes complicated mid way through when the most of the puzzle elements are combined, with enemies included.
Graphics, Design and Soundtrack
The overall design is cartoonish with smooth textures and semi cel-shaded on the characters. The graphics are well made for the style the developers were aiming for, but the characters could have been better. There are no features that will make John stand out from the enemies in the game, since they have same size and general look. The only feature that distinguishes John is his Southern accent (which helps define his character). The environments, especially the background, look gorgeous taking from all points on the color wheel.
Got To Love That Background
Each level in the game has a different background which, again, gives the player the feeling of progression and avoids repetitiveness. The real down side in the design are the characters animations, more so in the cut-scenes. Animations feel random and don’t match what the characters are saying or doing; lip movements are also out of sync. Thus, some important cut-scenes with emotional value were rendered useless and failed to deliver the message. Cut-scenes would probably have been better if they had taken a comic style approach, using still pictures similar to those in the inFamous series. Nevertheless, Rochard makes up the mediocre animations and character design with the great soundtrack and good voice acting. The soundtrack is beautiful, well composed and matches the outer space setting of the game with a different variety of tracks.
Rochard is very fun game that is absolutely worth its price tag. The puzzles in the game are challenging with a great combination of the different elements and usage of the G-Lifter. The physics in the game are top notch, especially while activating low gravity; therefore the player won’t be hindered by the game mechanics themselves. The game’s story is good enough to keep the player interested and has a good pacing as well. The only down side is the animations which were unpolished, didn’t sync with what the characters were saying or doing, and overall could have been a lot better. Yet, despite these few shortcomings, Rochard is an enjoyable experience.
I give Rochard a thumbs up buy
This review is based on a final version of the game given to the reviewer as a code from Recoil Games for theReviewcast.com