Rocket League Rumble is a free new game mode for Rocket League that takes the already great gameplay and adds a bunch of power-ups to the mix. All abilities can be used offensively or defensively. The update includes some quality of life improvements like the ability to save multiple car designs, rather than just one, and includes a Counter-Strike and Overwatch style crate system to help fund the future of the title. If you haven’t played Rocket League recently, this is a phenomenal update that is reason to go back.

NO BANANA PEELS

Rumble is available in matchmaking as three on three games, but is also an option in private games of any size. The objective is still to score goals, but now you receive power-ups after a ten second timer expires. I like this setup better than a Mario Kart style drive over the question mark setup. The timer ensures all players are never going long without a power-up, fueling the unpredictable nature of Rumble. The timer is also adjusted for a kickoff with less than ten seconds to go in a game. In that instance the timer is set to one second less than the time remaining, which often leads to mass spamming of abilities as the clock runs out.

The power-ups themselves are varied and have flexible use. The plunger grabs the ball and pulls it towards your car. The obvious use is defensive, stopping a ball from entering the net and pulling it away, but I prefer using it on the other end of the field. By driving towards the opposite net when the plunger makes contact with the ball, the ball will be thrown as a shot on goal. I’ve found few players expect this use and it has been a reliable goal scorer for me. Don’t be the player that uses the plunger while defending from their own net, that will just put your team down a goal.

A boot and a boxing glove are another pair of power-ups. The boot kicks an opposing player, while the glove punches the ball. It’s an important distinction to make. The glove is good for a last second save, or on the attack as the ball crosses in front of the goal. The boot is mostly used to deny the opposition from reaching the ball, but can rarely be used to kick them into the net while carrying the ball to score a goal for your team. This is done by way of the spike ability, which causes the ball to latch onto your car.

A fist icon represents the ability to demolish opponents by crashing into them at any speed, and also causes your strikes on the ball to be at full power at any speed. Another ability forces an opposing player to drive at full boost for a few seconds, and is best used while they are in the air. This is because the rocket boost will make them take off unexpectedly and it’s a lot harder to recover in the air than it is with four tires on the ground.

”Rocket League sits safely among the greatest games of all-time

In total there are eleven power-ups, and the only one I find pointless is the tornado. It seems to just be there to be chaotic, and I don’t see any tactical use. It throws the ball and other players, including your team, up in the air when you are near them. It isn’t great as an offensive or defensive tool, and I always just burn the ability as soon as I ever get it so I can get a different one as soon as possible.

QUALITY OF LIFE

Handy improvements have been made in addition to the new game mode. Players can now save up to ten different car designs. Prior to Rumble, you had to go in and change your design manually any time you wanted to try something different. The ten presets can be renamed for easy identification, and the extra slots gave me the opportunity to click on the randomize button a few times just to see what would come up. I’d never do that before because it meant having to rebuild my car entirely.

When designing cars players now can assign specific elements to be used depending on which color team you are on in any given game. You can’t choose whether you end up on blue or orange in matchmaking, but with this new option you can always have a design that matches your team. You could choose to match colors based to your team color, or maybe you only want your car to wear a cowboy hat while on the orange team, it’s entirely up to you. These two new options have greatly improved customization within Rocket League.

GRAB A CROWBAR

A bunch of new cosmetic items are available starting with the Rumble update, but many of them are locked behind crates that can only be opened via keys. Keys cost real world money. A single key will set you back $1.49, or if you buy in bulk it becomes $1 per key. A portion of this revenue is designated to help fund future Rocket League e-sports events.

Like other games utilizing similar systems, a community based around placing real world value on these digital assets has quickly sprung up. If you look around places like reddit you can find people looking to trade for specific items, and some looking to just pay to get what they want.

The items inside the crates include decals, boost trails, wheels, and car bodies. Subjectively, I find the items range from things I would never want to very cool looking. I especially like Pixel Fire boost trail and some of the animated decals.

Fortunately, not only is all of this entirely optional, but Psyonix has provided an option to hide notifications about receiving new crates. If you don’t have any interest in spending money on these crates, and are annoyed by the simple fact that crates are now part of Rocket League, you can simply turn those messages off and live in sweet ignorance of how many crates you’ve unlocked.

Items may be traded to other players, but must be done so within an in-game Rocket League party. Because cross-platform parties are not a thing yet, this means you can only trade amongst players on your own platform. One notable exception to this is that, currently, Xbox One players cannot trade keys at all.

FINAL SAY-SO

I truly believe Rocket League sits safely among the greatest games of all-time. The Rumble update is the largest and most fun of any DLC released to date. The Rumble mode will have long legs given how wildly unpredictable it can be, unlike Snow Day, and that it accommodates standard team sizes, unlike Hoops. The items are mostly all useable in numerous strategic ways and you’re never driving around long without having one. Car customization has reached new peaks with the addition of preset cars and setting items to specific team colors. The groundwork for future funding has been laid out with the implementation of a totally optional cosmetic crate system. Psyonix already had a winner on it’s hands and just keeps bringing quality updates, now more than a year after the initial release. I don’t think you needed a reason to keep playing or go back to playing Rocket League, but if you think you do, Rocket League Rumble is it.

Rocket League Rumble was reviewed on PlayStation 4. It is a free download available to all owners of Rocket League.
As a free title update, Rocket League Rumble will not be separately scored from the base game.


Publisher
Developer
Reviewed On
Release Date
Psyonix
Psyonix
PlayStation 4
September 8, 2016
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