John Rochard, voiced by Jon St. John of Duke Nukem fame, is an asteroid miner in the far flung future. He and his crew travel through space looking for the largest asteroids, drilling them and mining the ore contained within for their mega-corporation bosses. But one day during their drilling, John stumbled upon an alien artifact deep within the core of an asteroid. With this discovery comes chaos. Small things begin happening at first, such as mild ship malfunctions and strange power outages. But when a team of space pirates appears and begins to raid John's ship, he and his crew are put in extreme danger. With his team missing and his ship under siege, John must stop the pirates and discover the strange origins of the alien artifact.
He will do this, of course, via a series of physics based puzzles and light gunplay.
Much like Dead Space or Portal, the main gameplay in Rochard revolves around using physics-based weaponry to advance through a futuristic base. Unlike those games, however, Rochard takes place in a 2D sidescrolling environment. With his unique equipment, it is possible for Rochard to pick up and use items such as crates and boxes to solve puzzles and get around obstacles. He will also gain the ability to lower gravity early on in the game, which not only allows him to jump farther, but also allows for boxes and other objects to be thrown farther. Force fields come into play as well, with differently colored fields having different effects.
Physics come into play during combat as well. When Rochard encounters a space pirate, he can use crates to hide behind in order to avoid enemy fire. When attacking, he can hurl the crates into enemies, killing them. A later upgrade will allow Rochard to return fire with a gun of his own, although the repurposed mining tools which comprise his arsenal are not quite as powerful as the guns of the space pirates, and as Rochard is a miner, not a soldier, he'll have to be careful of gunfire. His health will deplete quickly if hit.
As Rochard upgrades his weapon, new areas of the ship will become accessible. Numerous hidden items are scattered about the environment, and some backtracking will be required to get them all.
Rochard was released for the Playstation Network on September 27, 2011. As of this writing, critical reception has been sparse but positive. The first review of the game was an 8.5 from IGN. The PC version was released on Steam in November 2011.
Rochard was developed under Sony's Pub Fund initiative, meaning that Sony provided support for the game in return for exclusivity to their console. It is for this reason that the game was a timed exclusive on the PS3, and although it seemed unlikely to appear on other platforms, the PC version was released two months later on Steam.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP SP2
- Processor: 2.6 GHz single core
- Memory: 1 GB
- Hard Disk Space: 3 GB
- Video Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card
- DirectX®: 9.0c
- Sound: Integrated audio interface
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: 3.0 GHz dual core
- Memory: 2 GB
- Hard Disk Space: 3 GB
- Video Card: GeForce 8 series, ATI Radeon HD2xxx
- DirectX®: 10.0