Rochard is the type of game that will hit or miss anyone who comes near it. I find it literally impossible to think that someone would look at this game and say anything other than, “This game was great” or, “This game was terrible”. Because of that, it’s hard to truly review it.
I can see how some people would love this game. In fact, I can see how this game could easily hit very close to home with some people. It stands as a game that portrays something we don’t see everyday, much less in video games. It portrays the working man as an unlikely hero. Granted, this is all for a parody-based feel, but it’s there.
If I can’t say anything else about Rochard in this review, I’ll give it credit for being different. Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between Line-Rider and Rochard. That being that Line-Rider is different, but appeals to tons of people because of its accessibility. Rochard is more like Dynasty Warriors in the fact that it sits in a niche that not everyone will like.
Not every gamer is going to like the repetitious platforming puzzles. Not every person is going to be a fan of the protagonist. Lots of people will be annoyed by the soundtrack and the constant Southern accent. It’s not going to sell for everyone.
With that being said, Rochard is not a bad game by any means. I just can’t see it selling to that many people. If it was a country music video, a blue-grass song, or even a folk movie, it would probably sell great. Unfortunately, I don’t get much from it. I feel slightly more capitalist after playing it, but that’s it.
Therein lies the issue. The game is mostly fine. Sure, it can get boring and repetitious at times, but it’s not a bad game. Unfortunately, it has so much going for it that it’s almost hindered by the atmosphere.
Is it a beautiful game? Yes. There’s no doubt about that. The graphics look like something straight out of Team Fortress 2, and that’s impressive for an indie game. I wish more developers took time on their games’ graphics and made them look half as good as Rochard. Some of it is in fact so well done, that I more than once forgot that this was an indie game.
The music is also well-placed and perfect. I’m not a big fan of the song choice, but it’s nice for a game to have a soundtrack it can call its own. It really makes a game unique.
The controls are also quite bearable. They’re far from perfect though. In fact, in some instances I often found myself pressing four buttons down at once while clicking my mouse at a weird angle. Luckily, the controls do make sense for the game. My fingers knew where to go without the game having to tell me. It was wonderful.
Like I said, there are some issues with this game. I have a hard time playing Mario when I remember he’s a plumber. This guy looks like the main character’s dad from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It’s very difficult to play as him. Although his personality fits in well enough with the game, he gets a bit tiresome.
Another problem is how the game seems to switch from comedic side-scrolling adventure, to comedic murder simulation. At some points it felt like I was playing a Crash Bandicoot humor game, only to step into the next room and deal with the sense of humor from Portal. It became very conflicting for me to go from. “There’s that sucker, go get im’ boys”, to “You are dead. Your next of kin has been notified”. I’m sure it was supposed to support some diversity, but it was more obnoxious than anything else. It was as if they kept setting up a general atmosphere only to completely flip it by changing the way the jokes were told.
I just feel like they decided to take a beautiful game with a wonderful concept, and dilute it. Choosing “John Every-Hero” as a protagonist would be something. Hell, even Rochard would be fine if he was followed around by a cast like him, but he seems out of place. It’s like the enviroment fits him, but half the cast just doesn’t seem to work. I get the humor behind, “Let’s make “George-Blue-Collar” go on an epic adventure suited for “Sir. Epicus Von Awesomestein”, but it just doesn’t seem to fit. I seriously feel very conflicted by everything.
At the end of the day, Rochard is a niche game that feels oddly out of place. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but it was tiring. The gameplay was unique enough, but it seemed to feel like it was trying too hard to be a blue-collar version of Portal. I had fun for a while, but the gameplay ended up becoming boring after a while. Even the off-jokes in the background seemed to get tiresome. If you do decide to play it, just realize it’s very niche and you’ll either love it or hate it.
This review is based on a copy of the Steam version of the game, which we received for review purposes.