NEW YORK — John Rochard doesn’t care about silly things like physics. Like any good blue-collar worker, he’s too busy clocking in his hours and grinding out a living to worry about Newton’s laws or gravitational pull.
That’s your job.
In Rochard, a downloadable physics-based puzzle game available Tuesday on PlayStation 3, you’re tasked with guiding John through a series of gravity-based puzzles. After accidentally discovering an alien artifact, the space miner finds himself stranded on an asteroid, his co-workers missing. Also, there are laser beams and turrets and mean bad guys who want to kill him.
Rochard has a few weapons at his disposal, but most interesting is his gravity gun, which he can use to manipulate crates and switches, flinging them around like angry birds to knock down baddies and open new passages. He can also slow down gravity, making it easier to jump and swing around Rochard’s lovely two-dimensional stages.
Levels get more and more difficult as you progress, flipping around gravity and ramping up the strength of the enemies. It only takes a few shots for a group of enemies to kill you, so you’ll have to think up clever ways to get around each stage. Developer Recoil says most levels can be solved with multiple solutions. Rochard can either find creative methods to kill enemy soldiers, like dropping them into electricity fields, or just run into the fray, guns blazing.
It took a while to get used to Rochard’s control scheme when I played it at a Manhattan preview event last week. During a demo, I died approximately ten million times, much to the chagrin of the other people waiting to play. At one point, I let the PR representative take over for a little while so I could see how the game played without jarring deaths interrupting progress. He promptly died.
Still, Rochard seems like an appealing, if somewhat frustrating, puzzle-platformer. Some sections of the game, like a Super Mario Galaxy-esque free-fall where you have to swing from crate to crate to survive, look like a great deal of fun. And who doesn’t love playing with gravity?
Images courtesy Sony Online Entertainment