After years and years and years of people demanding an official Rocket League game on mobile, developer Psyonix has finally delivered with their made-for-mobile spin-off Rocket League Sideswipe. Now, an ultra-popular IP releasing a mobile-ized version of their ultra-popular game can generally go a couple of ways. One way is that the transition to mobile completely guts the game of whatever magic it had on other platforms, whether that’s too many sacrifices to the gameplay or an awful monetization strategy since trying to sell games on mobile is so fickle. Or both of those things!
The other way things can go is that the developers retain the essence of what makes their ultra-popular game so special on other platforms, and is able to transfer that magic into a package that plays well to mobile’s strengths, with its touchscreen input method and emphasis on more bite-sized play. Well let me tell you that Rocket League Sideswipe sits firmly in this second camp, and I’d argue that it is THE finest example of how to bring an IP from other platforms to mobile. This is all the fun and exhilaration of Rocket League proper, but shrunk down and streamlined in ways that make sense but don’t take away from the core experience. It’s really pretty remarkable.
Gone is the fully 3D playfield in favor of a 2D plane. Games are played from a side view, hence the “Sideswipe” title, so all the player needs to worry about is moving left/right, boost, and jump. It’s super manageable with virtual controls, but Sideswipe also supports physical controllers. Matches are trimmed down to just 2 minutes and come in either 1v1 or 2v2 varieties. All of the competitive online play and the wild vehicle customizations from the big pants Rocket League are present here, and the streamlined gameplay does not inhibit the incredible moments that the series is famous for. As our forum moderator Metalcasket says, “The same exhilaration in victory, the same rage in loss” as Rocket League proper.
I’m struggling to find even a single bad thing to say about Rocket League Sideswipe. The game is free to play on other platforms, with a vast selection of completely optional cosmetic items available as IAP to drive its monetization. Sideswipe as of right now is just completely free, with no IAP, but I imagine that will change. However, I’m quite sure if IAP is added it’ll be of the cosmetic customization variety, or perhaps a Battle Pass type of deal. Whatever the case I don’t think the integrity of the gameplay will be in jeopardy, and that is a great thing because there is really not many things you can do with your mobile device that are more fun than playing Rocket League Sideswipe.