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[Review] Rochard

Rochard, an action packed side-scrolling puzzle platformer for the PlayStation®Network, follows the story of the humble astro-miner John Rochard as he uses his wits and everyday mining tools to fend off space pirates, save his team of missing miners and solve the mystery behind the discovery of an ancient alien artifact.

Rochard tests players’ coordination and wits as they manipulate gravity to their advantage, changing it at will to solve environmental puzzles and advance through each level. By using the upgradable G-Lifter, the main tool of the game, players can lift and maneuver heavy objects around the environment, and eventually swing, jump and propel themselves huge distances throughout each level.

Developed by Recoil Games, founded by former Remedy Entertainment team members, Rochard is a fun and original space adventure game that features a resourceful hero, ominous villains, rugged machinery, big explosions, even bigger stunts and sharp one-liners.

Key Features

– The Everyman Hero – John Rochard may not be a super soldier, but he holds his own as an ordinary space miner with a mustache placed in an extraordinary situation. He must rely on his everyday mining tools to rescue his team and save the day.

– Your Laws of Gravity – Manipulate gravity on a whim in order to defeat enemies and solve a variety of environmental puzzles that test and reward your coordination and wits.

– A Rocky Space Adventure – Help Rochard uncover the mystery surrounding the ancient alien artifact by traveling to and from an asteroid mine, a floating casino in space and more!

– Heavy Lifting – Utilize the upgradeable G-Lifter to defeat the bad guys by hurling incredibly heavy objects at them, by altering the environment around them, firing explosives at them or by creating gravity bubbles that deflect their weapons back in their direction!

In Rochard, you play as John Rochard, a Space-cowboy like astro-miner that works for the company called Sky Rig. Rochard and his crew stumbled upon an alien artifact, and after reporting it to HQ, have been attacked by space pirates. Your goal as Rochard, is to defend your co-workers, and find out what this alien artifact actually is.

Rochard is a 2D, side-scrolling platformer, with cartoon like 3D graphics that look better than expected. The cut scenes are almost like watchig a 3D animated film. The gameplay does involve some combat, however Rochard’s emphasis is on solving puzzles.

Rochard’s tool of choice, is called a G-Lifter. The G-Lifter is a multipurpose gun that helps you solve puzzles and defeat enemies. It’s main function is to lift objects and move them. This is also the main feature of solving puzzles in Rochard. Move these boxes so you can jump on them, allowing you to remove the battery energizing the laser wall blocking your way, then launch that battery to another spot allowing an energy walkway to appear, finally allowing you to reach another room.

Rochard also has a tool, the low-gravity diffuser, that allows him to lessen the gravity of a room. This allows Rochard to jump and move objects much higher and farther, as well as manipulate heavier objects. You will have to learn how and when to manipulate the gravity in order to solve some of the rooms. Activate low gravity, jump and launch an object at the right moment, and then turn low gravity off to allow that object to hit just the right spot.

Another tool at Rochard’s disposal, is the Rock Blaster. It shoots a lasers that Rochard uses to shoot opponents and blast open some doors. Another way to blast open areas comes later in the game with the use of explosives. Enemies can be defeated in a number of ways. They can be shot with the Rock Blaster, hit by objects launched with the G-Lifter, blown up with explosives, or even flattened by Rochard falling on them.

The controls of the game are a little tricky at first, however become second nature very quickly. You move with the left analog stick, pick up items or shoot with R1, and aim with the right analog stick. The aiming comes in handy when launching items to where you need them. Although moving items is a major puzzling aspect of the game, there are also many others. Colored force fields add a new complexity to otherwise easy solutions. Objects can go through certain force fields that Rochard cannot, and vice versa for others.

There are also hidden areas, or areas that require some extra manipulation of object to get to. These areas contain hidden trophies, that when all collected, give you, of all things, a PSN trophy. There is also a trophy for completing the entire game in under three hours, however your first play through is going to take you about twice that.

The audio for the game is very good. Rochard was voiced by Duke Nukem voice actor, Jon St. John. The soundtrack in Rochard is right on and very impressive for a downloadable game.

At only $9.99, Rochard is well worth the money, and definitely worth picking up.

[review pros=”Great Fun
Great Graphics and Sound
Fun Puzzle Solving” cons=”Not a lot of replay-ability” score=94]

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Rochard provided by Recoil Games.

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