This thoughtfulness extends to the studio’s crafting of a convincing world where Rocket League is the number one sport. You see it in the multi-tier, sold-out arenas and you hear it from the indistinct chants of allegiance from the fans. The crowd goes ‘Oooohhhh!’ or ‘Aaaaahh!’, whether it’s a goal or a key ball hit at midfield. These sprinkles of realism aren’t strictly necessary but are greatly appreciated; for instance, the pitch itself features blades of grass that all move independently. These manicured fields are best admired during the pre-match camera shots, but you can’t be faulted for staring at them in the middle of a game. They are complemented by the myriad customization parts, from wildly swinging antenna flags to neon-blue engine exhaust trails.
The joy of Rocket League rests on the countless plans that are conceived and discarded every other second in any given match. Trying to predict where and how the ball will bounce next is a game within the game. Despite the use of cars, Rocket League emulates the emotional surges typical of The Beautiful Game, such as the rush of an unexpected fast break or a well-timed header into a goal. With Rocket League, the promising concept of combining two wonderful things–cars and soccer–is equally magnificent in execution. You can’t say the same thing about, say, combining cake and fruit to make fruitcake, as the comedian Jim Gaffigan observed.