The joy of Rocket League rests on the countless plans that are conceived and discarded every other second in any given match. Trying to predict where and how the ball will bounce next is a game within the game. Despite the use of cars, Rocket League emulates the emotional surges typical of The Beautiful Game, such as the rush of an unexpected fast break or a well-timed header into a goal. With Rocket League, the promising concept of combining two wonderful things–cars and soccer–is equally magnificent in execution. You can’t say the same thing about, say, combining cake and fruit to make fruitcake, as the comedian Jim Gaffigan observed.
Rocket League’s replay value lies in the draw of constant participation, not in a progressive system of unlockable advanced abilities or shoehorned novelty modes. All the arenas are uniform and consistent in shape, without any bells and whistles like the terraces in its predecessor, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. The only variables are the team sizes, A.I. difficulty, and season lengths. This lack of flexibility adds legitimacy to the sport, mirroring the steadfast traditions within many professional sports, some of which are over a hundred years old.