Rochard is a 2D platform game developed by Recoil Games, originally published by Sony before making it over to the PC. The game revolves heavily around the physics of objects by using a G-lifter (a multi-purpose mining tool with control over gravity) and the power to manipulate the local gravity. John Rochard is the head of mining on a Skyrig Corporation Mining Asteroid facility.
When he arrives back at the facility, his boss Maximillian gives him the bad news that he’s shutting down the operations because of low production in recent years. While still working below, John’s team Skyler and Zander dig up some ancient ruins of alien origin. Rochard gets back to his boss about the new discovery and they are soon attacked by bandits while waiting for Maximillian and reinforcements. Rochard then has to save his team from the bandits and then escape before they can be killed.
The game is spread across 5 chapters where you will visit some varied environments as you try to save you and your team as well as find out the secret behind the ancient ruins that were discovered on your asteroid mining facility.
The G-Lifter is a multi-purpose mining tool that has some interesting abilities. Its main function is the ability to lift objects, move them around and fire them over a distance. It never ceases being satisfying to hit enemies with an object. Some liftable enemies do still pose a threat when lifted; such as the flying droids which will fire at you if you don’t smash them to pieces fast enough. Changing the gravity affects the trajectory, weight and speed of an object making it easier to throw something light or allow you to pick-up and throw heavier objects. Launching objects when in mid-air can boost you in the opposite direction to the object which can let you gain new heights or cross bigger gaps.
The G-lifter can also be given a few upgrades; the Rock Blaster is a mining laser is a unlimited ammo laser gun that deals a fair amount of damage to destructible objects and enemies but is also prone to overheating. Next is the Detonator which has a range of modes which you unlock during the game but the main one you have for the majority of the game is the standard grenade. It can be fired from the G-lifter and then detonated at will or after a few seconds. These have quite a large radius when they explode so will likely kill nearby enemies. There are also a few upgrades that just enhance your G-lifter as well such as upgrades to hold more ammunition for the detonator or increase the amount of shots before it overheats.
There are other mechanics that really play to the games strengths; the gravity control is one of the most interesting things in the game, jumping higher in low gravity or reducing the impact of a fall at the last moment feels great. Huge fans can send you in the direction that they’re blowing in low gravity, even letting you hover in mid-air. Force fields make for some very interesting puzzles at times with the four different colours each stopping different things from passing through. The red field blocks humans, blue blocks objects, orange blocks all weapon fire and explosions (including Grenades) and the white field blocks everything. These are all used in unison to create some fun puzzles involving lots of juggling of objects. Finally fuses control electronic devices; these include force fields, doors and machinery. Unplugging fuses and putting them into unpowered sockets tends to be the only thing you need to do with them but it’s still fun to mess around by making traps for the enemies to walk into.
The combat is awkward because it’s not bad but it isn’t great. The first couple of dozen times you fling objects into an enemy is entertaining but it gets a little boring later in the game, on the other hand; ripping turrets off of walls to instant kill them is fun all the way through. Turrets and other mechanical enemies do explode after a few seconds once they are defeated though, which leads to the occasional fun multi-kill. Killing enemies with the Blaster lacks any real sense of fun though and is usually just for clearing enemies quickly or for easier kills on mechanical enemies. The fact that you have quite a fair amount of health and that it regenerates pretty fast also makes it lack challenge in many situations because of the large amount of cover you can hide behind or pick up and use as a shield. Using objects as shields and then flinging them into enemies is so effective that it’s the most easily performed method for killing enemies.
The game looks great, it a little cartoony but even in the centre of an asteroid mine it never becomes too similar in background. Locations have a lot of colour and it’s really easy to tell all the different objects apart due to the colour palate and designs used. Colour blindness shouldn’t get affected too much by the force field colours but it may be problematic for Blue-red strains because of the frequency that those two fields are used for puzzle solving.
There is some really interesting music from Poets of the Fall which includes Southern rock/blues mixed with electronic, some more orchestra and electronic soundtracks depending on the current level. The best voice is Rochard by far, being voiced by Jon St John (Duke Nukem) and while some of the character are ok some of the voices do get annoying, particularly the Space Police and Skylar.
The story is pretty light-hearted and visits some interesting places. The dialogue can be a little funny at times but it doesn’t always land. Plot twist may surprise some but they tend not to be too clichéd or too unexpected.
Presentation and Audio
The game looks great and has some nice physics to accompany it; it’s bright and colourful despite the setting. Some really good music and the opening sequence of the game is brilliant because of the song that accompanies it. Voice acting is good but some voices aren’t that great.
The physics work incredibly well and the use in puzzles is good but never near as difficult as it should be later in the game. Combat doesn’t feel too difficult because of the regenerating health and the easily destroyed enemies but doesn’t really lose much charm if you’re wielding a crate in the G-lifter. Also a lot of the more interesting upgrades don’t have much time to shine because of their lateness in the game.
It’s a fun game to make your way through and the physics makes for some interesting puzzles and combat, it doesn’t feel that short which is a plus considering that it can be completed in less than 3 hours for an achievement. Unfortunately it the combat and puzzles get repetitive after a while and it doesn’t feel that challenging even on the highest difficulty setting. Comments: Low gravity is extremely fun to mess around in. I love the recoil jumps in low gravity they are incredibly rewarding especially when they are done multiple times in the same jump. Setting elaborate traps for enemies is one way to spice up combat when it begins to get stale. These can range from luring an enemy into an area before powering up a laser, to using grenades and low gravity to bounce crates around before going back to normal gravity to knock out an enemy beneath its weight. The puzzles do tend to get samey toward the end and it would have been nice to see some more elaborate puzzles but the game ends on a reasonably good set of puzzles.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.