Preview: Rochard Hands-On
Rochard — a PlayStation Network exclusive by Recoil Games — is a clever platformer that features a big-boned, mustached man with a hat. Sound familiar? It does to me too, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Anyway, Rochard follows John Rochard, the common astro-miner that accidentally stumbles upon becoming a great hero. His trusty G-Lifter proves to be not only a practical tool for his job, but opens up some great gameplay mechanics that is always refreshing to see. After sitting down and playing through a few stages, I think I have a good enough impression of the game to say that I like what I’m seeing.
Rochard is a 2D side-scroller with puzzle elements that keep you from moving on in the game. Each stage has barriers and objects scattered throughout, and it’s up to you to find out what to do and figure out how to move on. Each different colored barrier has a specific allowance of what can and cannot pass through them, and this includes bodies, objects, and other various combinations. As I was figuring out which way to go, where I should point my G-Lifter (tool that can keep objects afloat) and which object turn off or on barriers, I found it incredibly satisfying to accomplish these tasks. I always love a game with brains, and finally figuring out how to move on is fun — at least it is for me.
Outside of the puzzle elements, Rochard is also about physics and gravity. Throughout the game, you do a good amount of launching items across the screen and platforming. Grabbing items with the G-Lifter, maneuvering them to kill enemies and placing them in specific areas can get a bit tricky, but once you get the feel of the game, it’s, again, a satisfying experience. The game promotes experimentation and exploration, so pulling this and grabbing that can lead to some humorous kills. The game also has some clever platforming that includes the ability to toggle low-gravity to make big strides when jumping and even some upside-down areas.
Rochard is a good blend of platforming and puzzles, and there is much more mixing of the two than you would expect. An example of this is with using the G-Lifter to grab boxes and placing them underneath you as you jump to pull off a double jump. Yes, that’s how you double-jump in this game. No more tapping a single button twice nonsense. Rochard offers up an old school-like challenge that will hopefully open up to a mainstream audience. There’s not many games like this out there anymore, and that’s a shame. We look forward to playing more of this game when it finally releases on PSN.