Rochard is a creative puzzle game that delivers on its great ideas
There’s a quiet relaxation to Rochard, both in the game and the character. Everything seems to be put together in a very well thought-out fashion that sometimes gets missed in these smaller indie titles but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. It’s not often that you find space mining at the center of a game, let alone one of the miners as your protagonist. Physics-based puzzle games seem to be a lot of the rage these days on certain platforms but rarely has a game used gravity as its main inspiration. Rochard is a game that combines both, often times in fantastic fashion.
Early on our miner hero finds himself investigating malfunction gravity regulators but soon enough the mining facility is being attacked, which sends the whole system into a frenzy. You’ll them proceed through the levels room-by-room, left to figure out the solution on opening up the exit door after the entrance locks you in. Luckily Rochard is equipped with a anti-gravity lifting tool and the ability to affect the gravitational pull in a room. You’ll stack blocks and manipulate other items to and fro in order to find the solution for each room. Color-coded force fields allow certain molecular structures to pass through (or not) adding some trickiness to the how and where you’ll send yourself and the crates.
The character of Rochard is instantly likeable. His aw-shucks demeanor and relaxed way that he handles the situations as they get worse and worse make him someone that’s easy to root for and want to play as. He has an arsenal of backwoods sayings to go along with any situation (think stuff like “Tigher than a frog’s butt”) that help bring a fun sense of levity as your analyzing your surroundings.
Like a lot of growing number of PC games these days Rochard is best played with a gamepad. You’ll stick to the thumbsticks mostly while using the triggers and bumpers to manipulate your anti-gravity lifting tool. I never once felt like I was fighting with the controls and very quickly got used to the way the game handles. It feels great and lets you concentrate on the puzzles, which is exactly how it should be.
The element holding back Rochard the most is the combat. While it’s mostly kept pretty simple, flinging a crate at the enemy will take them down with one hit, you’re also equipped with a peashooter-style weapon that isn’t a problem, it’s just not a ton of fun to use. Shooting guys is not what makes Rochard special or fun. Luckily the shooting-heavy sequences are usually short and few and far between.
Rochard keeps things entertaining the whole way through. Its combination of story, setting and puzzle-solving hits a lot of the right notes for a large majority of the time. It’s not hard to find creativity and good ideas in these smaller indie titles but it’s fun to find one that executes its premise and delivers on its ideas in such a fine way. Give Rochard a chance and you’ll probably find that you’re more willing to spend time with redneck space miners than you would have thought going in.