review
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POSTED 14/10/11


ROCHARD

Recoil Games
PS3/PSN

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 shock.

So, the voice acting’s ace, as is the soundtrack. Things look lovely, too.

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.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.