John Rochard, the man, the myth,…the redneck space miner? John is in a bind as the man in charge of a space mining facility, and once again he’s struck-out in the field…err space. It’s been four years since he has had a successful dig and now his superior is none too pleased. John pleads his case that he only digs where the researchers tell him to, but before he is able to be fired from Skyrig the facility comes under attack by space pirates.
Rochard is a side-scrolling platformer that contains shooting sequences and relies heavily on the use of gravity. Once John unlocks the Gravity Well, he is able to control the gravity in each room of the facility — this will allow him to reach previously unattainable sections and also allow him to grab even the heaviest items with the G-Lifter. The puzzles rely on the use of energy barriers — some resist projectile blasts, some resist items such as crates, and others block organic life, namely John and the space pirates.
You start off packing the G-Lifter, essentially a simplified gravity gun. In its current state it is not a formidable weapon, but after a few upgrades it can handle even the toughest foes. With your companion Skyler directing you where to go through a headset you begin to take back the facility from the pirates, but that is only the tip of the iceberg and you will soon learn the true intention behind the attack and what secrets the facility may hold.
While enabling low-gravity, John is able to traverse across platforms with relative ease. Knowing when to turn low-gravity on or off is a key component to a lot of the puzzles. The puzzles range from simple to a few that made me scratch my chin in puzzlement. It is nice to see a game not afraid to get a little rough with the players.
John isn’t entirely without firepower. Changing modes on the G-Lifter opens up the Rock Blaster. Being designed more like a weapon, and actually used on some later levels to destroy rocks and crystals, it is more than adequate against the pirates. Just don’t fire to much as it will have to cool down if it overheats. And like the G-Lifter, the Rock Blaster can be upgraded as well. If you require heavier firepower, and who wouldn’t, John comes across a grenade attachment for the G-Lifter. There are a couple more upgrades for the G-Lifter, but I’ll leave those for you to find on your own. Trust me, they are well worth it though.
Graphically, Rochard is stylized and eye pleasing — you won’t find super advantage effects or mapping, but what you do see compliments the game perfectly. This design choice works well with the comedic value of the voice acting, which is solid through out the entire game. The music is very atmospheric at times and completes this package.
The adventure can be beaten in slightly under 5 hours, but for a downloadable platformer at $10, this is more than adequate. While starting off slow, the game picks up in action and the story departments rather quickly. The game can be classified as a puzzle platformer, in the end levels it relies too heavily on combat, which is a departure from the rest of the game. Rochard has more twists to the story line than some retail titles. The final boss battle is very satisfying is it requires you to use everything you have learned going through the game, focusing on platforming and using the gravity gun — add collectibles and upgrades and a gold trophy, there are plenty of things to keep players coming back after the initial play through.Note: Rochard was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.