Rocket League takes what's usually a frustrating novelty -- car soccer -- and transforms it via excellent controls and a top-notch presentation. A mass of players follows the soccer ball wherever it rolls, teammates steal from each other, and accidental own-goal shots are almost expected.
The game is a little clunky at first, but the nimble cars make vehicular soccer a breeze once you get over the initial speed bumps. The basics are similar to most third-person arcade racers out there, but you need to spend time learning how to use your car's advanced spins, boosts and rocket thrusts to get the most of the game. It's worthwhile spending time in the tutorials.
Once you get the hang of driving, Rocket League is a joy. The rule is the same for all matches: earn the most points in five minutes. You nudge, slam, bonk or bash the ball into your opponents' goal. The arena walls are banked into high walls, so the ball is in play no matter how exuberantly it's been hit, which keeps the action moving.
Matches are short and players are given a steady drip of cosmetic upgrades for their vehicles by simply participating. None of them affects gameplay, but a variety of hats, paint effects, body types and smoke-trail designs let players show off their personality during the slow-motion replays.
Once you fully connect with Rocket League's controls, your car will feel like an extension of you. It's a sensation that's all too rare in games, which makes it all the more satisfying when something like it comes along.
-- Game Informer Magazine (TNS)
RATING E 10+ for Everyone 10 and older
PLOT Car soccer gets souped up.
DETAILS PlayStation 4, PC, $19.99
BOTTOM LINE You'll have a ball.