Opinion: “Rocket League Sideswipe” revives the name of its 2015 predecessor

Plank Article Kevin Mun ’22

The mainstream video game developing studio, Psyonix, just released a new mobile spin off of their poster game, “Rocket League.” “Rocket League Sideswipe” has been available on IOS and Android for Psyonix’s North American audience since Dec. 2, 2021, and players are loving it.

For most of its 7 year life as a video game, “Rocket League” was not free. That was until the video game company, Epic Games acquired Psyonix in 2019. Epic Games then re-released “Rocket League” for free in September of 2020. This took the gaming world by storm as it became the headliner game for months well into the following year. However, “Rocket League” returned to its relative silence for the remainder of 2021, up until now. 

“Rocket League Sideswipe” compensates for everything wrong and tedious about “Rocket League.” Sideswipe is a 2D mobile game, with three buttons to control a car during its two minute matches. “Rocket League” is a 3D video game that is traditionally played with an entire gaming controller – or up to an intense 12 different control keys on a keyboard – throughout its five minute matches. With all of these factors, “Rocket League” has been commonly referred to as one of the most mechanically challenging video games ever.

“Rocket League Sideswipe” is much more forgiving to newcomers than “Rocket League,” not only on account of its limited skill expectancy, but also on account of its low queue times and quicker matches. You can lose a match and get right back into it and be a winner within a few minutes, which is an addicting rollercoaster to indulge in. 

On the other hand, “Rocket League” can be much more frustrating, as five minutes are drawn out to what feels like eternity when on the losing side. “Rocket League’s” replay feature also has its downsides, which replays every goal scored, taking an extra 10 or so seconds until it lets the players play again. “Sideswipe” doesn’t do this, but in my opinion it still takes a little too long to respawn and release the players once more.

The general architecture of “Sideswipe” does a great job mimicking “Rocket League.” I’m surprised how well they made the fit, considering that they had to go from a 3-Dimensional game to a 2-Dimensional game. “Rocket League’s” physics are for the most part still there, but it’s great being able to easily perform certain moves in “Sideswipe” that would take hundreds of hours of practice to pull off in “Rocket League”. 

Another great aspect of “Sideswipe” is that it’s super easy to play with friends. Although there are only 2v2s, it’s still been easy to invite and go right into games with any friend. It’s similarly easy to set up 1v1 matches against them, too. 

The overall gameplay of “Sideswipe” is exceptional. In “Rocket League” players often spend substantial amounts of time seeing little to no action. “Sideswipe” however, having a comparatively small arena, forces a player’s every moment to be crucial. A minute can hardly go by when you haven’t participated in either an attacking goal or failed defense. Every game I played so far in which all the players were equal in skill has been a guaranteed adrenaline rush for me. 

Despite “Rocket League Sideswipe” only being around for a couple of months so far, plenty of people have already sunk days into it. I believe it’s the perfect complementary mobile game for “Rocket League”, and I expect it to be a significantly popular game here at Jesuit High School Sacramento.