Sometimes the unlikeliest of heroes make for the most interesting games.
Rochard is a game that wasn’t even on my radar up until about 2 weeks ago. I had heard virtually nothing about this game and knew barely anything about it. Those facts alone got me quite interested in it when I learned I would be reviewing it and I really grew to enjoy the game as it unfolded through my actions.
John Rochard is a blue collar space miner who ends up becoming entrenched in a huge conspiracy when the mine he’s working on is invaded by a gang called The Wild Boys. John brings a much needed change in the way a typical protagonist is presented as there’s nothing particularly special about him. John is just a normal every-day man, but he has one thing that changes everything about the game; the G-Lifter.
The G-Lifter allows you to lift things up in any direction and move things around to solve different puzzles and get to spots that would otherwise be inaccessible. The mechanics of this work very well and you’re given an arc to show you where you’re throwing what you pick up. This isn’t the only type of weapon and gadget in the game though; in fact there are several variations. You’re given a Rock Blaster to shoot any enemies, robots, or anything else you may need it for. In addition to the 2 main weapons, there are three different types of grenades in the standard, sticky, and gravity grenades.
Each of these provide their own advantages and disadvantages, however I found the gravity grenade to be the most unique, allowing for platforms to rise after being stationary just seconds before. Unfortunately for that though, there aren’t many instances where this is used as it’s introduced very late in the game.
Let’s get to the gameplay which is really where this game shines. It has been quite a while since I’ve played a decent platformer and even longer since I’ve played a decent puzzle platformer. This game meshes the two perfectly. The big obstacles in this game stem from barriers that are color cordinated. Blue allows players to pass, not objects, red allows objects and projectiles to pass, not players, orange blocks all projectiles, white blocks everything.
Usually these barriers are controlled by fuses placed somewhere in the area. Getting these fuses can prove to be more difficult than it seems and sometimes, fuses are needed to do something else in the level. Quite easily put; you’re always thinking when you play this game. It really tests you and your perception but at the same time, never feels impossible. Other obstacles include lasers which sometimes need to be maneuvered in the correct direction to get around or pointed at fuses to turn other lasers off to pass by. Fans blow you up to higher places while the G-Swing located in your G-Lifter can swing you from box to box high in the air.
I wasn’t very satisfied with the settings in Rochard. I didn’t feel like there was much variety and apart from the Casino level everything didn’t seem very distinct. A minor inconvenience, however creating more vibrant environments would have made this game that much more enjoyable. The music makes up for the setting as it really sets the mood for every action/ Players can always tell when a big moment is coming or when things are going to be primarily relaxed.
The combat is somewhat of a disappointment; it just doesn’t deliver very much and feels like an added element to put some additional toughness for experienced gamers. I also thought that for the length of game that having the same half-dozen or so enemies on screen for the entire game was a poor decision that wouldn’t have taken much effort to fix. While the combat and character variety is disappointing for the most part, there are the fun elements such as: throwing a box on top of an enemy’s head, watching them fall down with the rag doll effect after punching them, and throwing them with the G-Lifter later in the game.
Overall, John Rochard’s adventure was a good experience for me and I found the gameplay very enjoyable. The puzzle elements were a great challenge and putting in a battle here and there (no matter how mediocre) pulled the game together. I had a lot of fun playing Rochard and really felt that it was a good first outing for Rochard and let’s hope they continue with this new IP for the foreseeable future.
- Great puzzles
- Variety of weapons/gadgets
- Good length for the money
- Generic story
- Only a handful of different enemies