Meet John Rochard, pronounced Row-shard. John is not your typical hero. Instead, John Rochard travels space looking for minerals to mine for a company known as Skyrig. Equipped with a massive gut and a healthy Southern accent, John is on the verge of being fired due to his team’s lack of finding anything valuable in four years. Suddenly, they stumble upon some of the precious metal, which triggers our adventure.
While the story didn’t really grab me, there was that certain Southern charm that set Rochard apart from other puzzle games. But before we talk puzzles, let’s set the rest of the scenery.I mentioned Rochard’s Southern accent. The music is actually probably my favorite part of this game. It has this nice, Southern-rock twang to it that seems to fit the game more than you could imagine. Even before launching the game, when you have it highlighted in the XMB, I actually found myself sitting there listening to the music it played before launching the game. A lot of times, music doesn’t hook me like that, but Rochard’s music direction is simply top notch. And while it doesn’t play throughout the whole game, when it kicks in, you can’t help but bob your head a little.
Also the fact that Rochard isn’t your clean cut, suave guy makes the game’s story more enjoyable. Without the music, or the character being how is, this game would probably lose a few points. The mechanics are sound, but these particular areas of Southern charm are really the standout elements.
Your main puzzle-solving tool is a nifty device known as a G-Lifter. Think of it as a whip, that grabs objects and can toss them about. Boxes can be picked up and stacked to reach various places, including out-of-the-way areas with collectibles (every game has to have them, right?), or they can be picked up and thrown at enemies. Until you get your handy Rock Blaster, this is a great way to deal with the bandits roaming your ship, and remains fun throughout the way. Another thing you will find yourself using a lot is John’s ability to manipulate gravity. This allows him to jump higher and further, as well as throw objects much further.The puzzles themselves aren’t overly complex, but they make you think, and that’s really what you want in a puzzle game, right? There’s a lot of running from one end of the screen to the other, tethering switches to holes, hopping on an elevator, and then repeating the process but in a different order.In the midst of this, is the combat, which I personally felt was awkward. Playing a LOT of shooters on PS3, I’m used to the R1 button firing my gun. In Rochard, it’s the same trigger as the G-Lifter, R2. So in a frantic moment, instincts would kick in and I would be tapping the R1 button only to die. I lost a LOT of time due to this little problem of mine. When working with the G-Lift, it was never an issue, only moments when things got tense.The only other issue I had with the game was the load time. It’s a little excessive for what you would think it would be. Especially if you come to a spot that gives you trouble and die a few times. Even the initial load into the game is a lot longer than I anticipated. I thought maybe it was just the first time booting up to create a save, etc., but it was every time the game loaded.
Rochard is a great buy for those who are seriously into puzzle games. It’s creative puzzles and charming character are worth every bit of $10.
Pros: G-Lifter is awesome, fun puzzle solving, the charming John Rochard, comical story writing
Cons: load times, bland plot