Rochard [1] – Miner’s Life

I decided to mix it up a bit and try a game recently added to my backlog, via the latest Humble Bundle.

Rochard is a puzzle platformer based on physics. Your character uses a gravity manipulator/gun that allows him to shoot enemies (eventually) and manipulate physical objects such as crates, droids, explosives, etc. Quite early in the game, you also learn how to manipulate gravity itself, reducing it to a fraction of the one we usually work with. This allows Rochard to jump further, lift heavier objects, throw them further, etc. It also allows him a special move where he throws an object and uses the counter force to propel himself further.

Rochard Cut Scene

The story is told in real time.

The basic story is that you’re part of an asteroid mining company looking for an extremely valuable material. In one of the digs, you stumble into something weird which is followed by an accident and a raider attack. Pretty soon, all hell breaks loose.You use all of these abilities to progress through the game. There are, of course, preferred solutions to any puzzle, but the general rule is, if the physics allow it differently, you can do it your way. This is why I like physics puzzles. Even if you get stuck and don’t see the proper solution, you can always build a tower from local debris and advance that way.

The story isn’t deep or amazing, but it works with the game and its style. The graphics are cartoonish, somewhat Pixarish, even, and the voice acting is decent. Overall, the game has a nice and enjoyable style which can last for many years to come. If you combine this with the fun mechanics, you get a pretty damn good game.

The first area of the game I played through was a sort of tutorial, but the instructions weren’t really getting in the way of what I wanted to do, which I like. I was slowly getting through the story, past the initial accident and the raider attack, all the while upgrading my tool to allow shooting, gravity manipulation, and most recently, explosives. The game also introduced new minor mechanics every now and then, which keeps things very interesting. I’ve played for a bit over an hour total, so I assume I didn’t get very far, but then again, there’s a “Complete the game in three hours” achievement, so I’m thinking it shouldn’t take more than five to six hours on a regular playthrough.

It’s getting late now, though, so I’ll play again tomorrow.