Most video games have you playing a war-hardened killing machine that can take on millions of enemies and be home in time for dinner. That’s not the case in Rochard. A couple of months ago, the PSN players got their hands on the little downloadable title. Now, the PC guys will get to try out this little gem of a game for themselves.
You play as John Rochard, an overweight, laid back space miner who works for a large corporation looking for a special mineral that’s used for fuel. In the past few years, Rochard and his ship have had no luck in finding any minerals, and the company is about to shut their organization down. Out of a stroke of luck, he comes across an asteroid that has a strange artifact and is told by the upper management to sit tight while they send out some investigators. As they’re waiting for the investigators to arrive, their ship is invaded by space pirates looking to take the ship and kill everyone on board. Now it’s up to Rochard and his tech specialist, Skylar, to hold them off until the cavalry arrives.
The game is a 2D side scrolling shooter/platformer that also serves as a puzzle game. Rochard has a device that allows him to control the gravity in a room and a G-Lifter, a special grappling gun that allows him to pick up heavy objects and toss them.
The game breaks down into puzzle solving and combat. The puzzles start off rather simple. There are certain rooms that have walls that won’t allow solid objects, including humans, to pass, so you’ll have to find a way around the area by manipulating gravity and using your G-Lifter.
The combat is a little weak at times. You will get upgrades to the G-Lifter that allow Rochard to attack and manipulate other objects. Using your environment is the best way to take down the pirates. Trying to take them head on will get you killed more times than not. In a way, the combat is a puzzle in and of itself. Since Rochard can’t take too many hits, the game can get a little frustrating when you get bombarded with enemies while trying to do other things. The checkpoints are another weak point of the game. Sometimes you’ll die and be sent back pretty far from where you were. This can get on your nerves, especially in the combat heavy rooms.
The game offers up controller support for the keyboard and mouse illiterate like me. Even someone used to a mouse and keyboard may have some trouble pressing and holding certain keys while trying to platform while manipulating gravity and avoiding enemies. It’s just a lot to do at one time, but the controller works very well, and makes the game a little easier for those like me, so it’s worth mentioning.
The story is a little lackluster. Sure, Rochard and Skylar have some decent moments of funny dialog, and I really love the concept of John Rochard as a regular working stiff that gets thrown into a crazy adventure. Essentially, the story is there to progress the game. The opening is one of the bigger highlights of the game.
The game is a little on the short side. It can be beaten in around 5 hours, but there are collectables and achievements to get for the completionists. I think for how the game plays, though, it may be just the right length. Even though you will have some frustrating moments, it’s still a rather fun game.
For ten bucks, Rochard is a decent little game. There are some rather frustrating parts in both combat and the physics-based puzzles, but when the game does click, it’s actually rather clever. The art style and concept of John Rochard is very interesting, and the story, while a little bland, will keep you going to the end. Give it a shot. There’s some fun to be had.
Review copy provided by publisher.