When we first saw that name, we pronounced it ‘rosh-ard’. Then we
thought, “Nah, that can’t be right”. So we tried saying it like an
‘o’-infused ‘Richard’, then ultimately decided that it must be said
puntastically – ‘rock hard’.
We were right the first time.
Not only is it the name of the game, it’s the name of our
pot-gutted, impressively-moustachioed protagonist. He’s one tough
space miner, part Dukes of Hazzardesque Fred Flintstone, part
respectful Duke Nukem. That he’s voiced by the Duke guy didn’t
So, the voice acting’s ace, as is the soundtrack. Things look
But all the prettiness ever is worth diddlysquat if the game it’s
attached to sucks big hairy bally things that may even moonlight
occasionally as eggs. Mercifully, Rochard doesn’t suck; in
fact its mixture of platforming, puzzles and combat usually strikes
a deftly delicate balance between challenging and frustrating. It’s
retro-reminiscent 2D run ‘n’ jumpiness that smushes Metroid,
Half-Life 2 and Portal into a blender, sets it to
’stun’ and splorps out addictiveness.
The key tricky thing’s the ability to control gravity. Can’t jump
high enough? Jam down L1 and get extra-boingy floatiness.
Progression yields more goodies, from increasingly zzaptastic
weaponry to more synapse-scintillating puzzle elements.
Story? You want story? Well, you’re mining a space rock when ultra-kerchingy
artefacts are uneart... uh, unasteroided. You’re subsequently
attacked by a Duran Duran song, and rock hard Rochard gets busy.
Will he prevail, or will puffy shirts, daggy dancing and Russell
Mulcahy videos shot in Sri Lanka win out?
More than an anagram of ‘orchard’, Rochard roc... nah, too
predictable. Erm, Rochard cobblestones! It’s the kind of
captivating brain-bender where you’ll consider several increasingly
convoluted possible solutions, yet often find that – much like our
pronunciation shenanigans - usually your first instinct is best.