Rochard • Page 2

It's a G thing.

Later on Rochard also gets a rock blaster, which is useful for shooting things, but the stuff we've played so far emphasises basic puzzling using different forcefields (some of which permit the passage of organic matter but not crates, and some vice versa), crates, hatches and power cores (which allow you to turn on and off doors, forcefields, etc). The solution usually involves moving things between different areas in the correct sequence and paying close attention to the properties of your surroundings, a bit like Portal.

The space pirates, meanwhile, can be dispatched with a melee attack or by using the rock blaster, but it's more fun to dispense with them using the gravity tools (manipulating gravity, in my view, is entertaining, as you may have already deduced).

Tossing a crate on someone's head is always a gas, but in one section you are pursued across a red forcefield by a goon. If you leap, spin round and use the G-Lifter to haul a power core out of a wall above you, then the forcefield disappears and said goon tumbles to his doom.

Visually it's all happily retro and rendery, with chunky characters and environments reminiscent of Bionic Commando Rearmed (although Recoil would presumably want me to emphasise that they hail from Finland rather than GRiN's native Sweden, as I expect there's a national rivalry there - and also they gave me chocolate).

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Chunky surroundings. Just like that chocolate.

While the game is simply appointed, it is awash with neat little effects. Creative director Burt Kane draws our attention to some lovely real-time shadowing on a staircase, for example, and you don't have to work on Digital Foundry to appreciate it.

The whole game has a charming indie naivety and simplicity to it. It's hard to guess at the quality of things like pacing and level design based on such a small snapshot, but one thing that it is not hard to do - especially when listening to Kane explain the archetypes and backgrounds of the characters, discussing seemingly trivial details so reverently - is appreciate the personal passion behind this nifty little platformer. Even the logo is lovely - a splendid blend of Tron and Rez that I would happily wear on a t-shirt.

Playing with gravity is just awesome, and there's perhaps no better illustration of that than the game's signature advanced technique. This may even have given the studio its name for all I know. Grab a crate with the G-Lifter, switch on low-gravity and leap through the air, and you can fire the crate away from you to propel yourself further. It's called a recoil jump, and having spotted it in the trailer it's one of the first things I try out. It's fun - something it is difficult to imagine that Rochard will not be when it is finished.

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