What does Duke Nukem, Half-Life, and Native American mysticism all have in common? No, its not another DLC pack for Duke Nukem Forever, but it is SOE's downloadable platform-puzzler, Rochard. The titular character John Rochard, and his space trucker crew are outwardly bounded for space minerals when things all go to hell.
With any physics based game, the learning curve is slightly higher, but Rochard takes that curve on a nice little ride to figure out where the relationship is headed. You take your miner/trucker's gravity gun holding, pushing, throwing, or even shooting objects through different force fields or enemies and try to save your butts. Along the space theme, the gravity gun becomes a grenade launcher, repeater, and then some, but Rochard has multiple other resources at a touch of a button. Gravity manipulation, inverse gravity, or immense gravity, you have to truck through solving and saving Rochard's day.
With wide sweeping camera angles, subtle nuances with foreground and background, or just damn good visuals Rochard is a beautiful game. Barely, if any, graphic chugs and no unpleasant lighting whatsoever, Rochard is a piece of eye candy that has definitely had attention paid to it. The lights given off force fields, beams, bullets, grenades, or just the lights themselves are bright neon which bounce back off the matte backgrounds or dreary space-ness. If you couldn't tell, pretty lights make me smile and happy.
I'm a sucker for platformers, and even more so for puzzle games, so Rochard knocked my socks off. I picked up my controller meaning to just play for a few minutes, but hours later, I find my self staring at my clock in wonderment. Not a bad thing, just brownie points to me. I found the story to be a great twist, what with foreshadowing, red herrings, and witty writing itself, so it even did more so by me. I can't speak for everyone because they might become bored with the whole thing, but it's great so nyan.
John St. John, pretty visuals, and a great story to get behind, Rochard is a sleeper hit. Learning how to long jump in low gravity or just launching grenades through five different force fields to destroy one small piece of metal for a trophy gets my fingers itchy. Another great game to play, but who am I to tell you. Figure it out for yourself. Alabama.