Rocket League Hoops Review: Basketball meets Rocket Cars

By Mohammad Abubakr

Rocket League and Psyonix have always set a great example for the game development community by offering a great game with free updates at a very generous price. After spending only $20 on the game, I have been gifted with multiple updates including new modes such as hockey without any additional costs. The game relies on loyal and happy gamers who will optionally purchase downloadable content for exclusively cosmetic purposes. Once again, Rocket League players have been gifted a new game mode, Hoops, which introduces basketball to the world of Rocket League. Read on for my thoughts on this new game mode.

Even with the addition of the new Hoops mode, the general gameplay of Rocket League remains the same. Rocket League is a Sports-Action game available for both PC and PS4 (with supported crossplay!). In the traditional game mode, players drive rocket cars aiming to ram a giant soccer ball into the opposing team’s net. This simple idea coupled with rocket cars and amazing controls leaves the strategy and gameplay only limited by your imagination and skill. You can use your rocket boost to fly, accelerate at high speeds to climb the stadium walls, and even execute flips to launch the ball at the opponents’ net. Psyonix has taken the already loved and proven gameplay from a soccer field to a basketball court.


It’s still pretty easy to score on yourself…


This new basketball court is not a simple skin of the traditional soccer field. It seems like a good amount of time was spent to polish this court to make it feel like an actual basketball court. While we expected the design to change and feature wooden flooring rather than grass, even the little details such as sound effects have been changed. These little things that you would never pay attention to, such as the squeaking of the tires imitating squeaking shoes on a polished court, can add a lot to the game. You only notice these things if they are missing. The atmosphere, including the music, helps to set your mood and make you feel like you are playing basketball, not soccer.

After getting used to the environment, it is time to get familiar with the court. As I am sure you all know, a basketball court features two basketball hoops. In order to score, you must shoot the ball into the air and into the opposing team’s hoop. Unlike soccer, your shots must fly through the air into the hoops. This means that simple shots traveling horizontally are not enough, the vertical component is vital. Fortunately, this is not very difficult to pick up in Rocket League. Like the traditional game mode, the game is very easy to pick up but still has a very high skill cap.


How to steal your team’s points


Anyone can pick up the game (I recommend using a controller) and learn to shoot the ball into the hoop after a couple of games. Granted you’re better off starting off with soccer to learn the ropes before moving onto the more advanced hoops. The technique is harder than the traditional game mode as you cannot roll the ball into the net but an accelerated ram can easily launch the ball into the air. When I first started playing the Hoops game mode, I wasn’t quite sure how to score or block shots. However, after trying it out for a few matches, I quickly picked it up and can now actually plan my shots instead of just getting random flukes. It is great to see the ‘pick up and play’ aspect of the game still alive in this new game mode.

All the components of basketball are present in Hoops. You can take shots, setup for alley-oops, block shots, and even slam dunk if you are creative (imagine flying and falling down on the ball). There are no automated buttons that must be pressed to execute these plays, it is all left up to your imagination and skill when it comes to driving a rocket powered car. The base game has not changed so you still have the familiar and natural controls from Rocket League at your fingertips.


I love flipping into a shot


All of this comes together to form a great new game mode that is available to all existing Rocket League players for free! Even after all these major updates to the game, all additional optional purchases are only cosmetic. In order to make your car your own, players have access to various bodies, rims, colours, and more. With the release of the Hoops game mode, Psyonix has teamed up with the NBA to bring official team flags into the game. These flags can be flown atop your car’s antenna to show your support to your favourite team and Psyonix. It is great to see free content being released to an already great game with the additional paid content only being cosmetic.


Conclusion: Psyonix Sets an Example for the Industry

The new game mode helps to make an already great game even greater. New game modes such as Hoops can easily be justified as paid DLC but Psyonix chose to give us this game mode for free and rely on new purchases and cosmetic DLC sales to sustain their company. Rocket League shows us that a great game can always get by without relying on DLC after DLC and a ‘pay to win’ cash shop. If you release a great game, gamers will flock towards it and even purchase DLC for the sake of supporting the game. Plus, the DLC is pretty sweet and is well worth the price if you care about your car’s cosmetics.


It can be easy to give up points if you’re not careful


If you have not already tried out Rocket League, I would highly recommend picking up this game. If you already own the game, be sure to jump back into it to try out this new mode. It adds refreshing new game play to an already great game.


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