Rocket League, the vehicular footy favourite from Psyonix, is a pretty straightforward game to pick up and play – but there's an added layer of depth that makes it incredibly competitive. While you'll be able to get to grips with the basics in minutes, it'll take practice if you want to get promoted to the title's top division. Fortunately, we're here to channel our inner-Mike Bassett and share some top tips that will get you playing like a pro in no time. Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?
Don't forget to do your training
Rocket League has a rather robust training mode that should be your first port of call before anything. While you may be tempted to take to the field from the first whistle, you don't want to end up like Liverpool 'legend' Neil 'Razor' Ruddock now do you? Start out with the basic tutorial, which will talk you through all of the core controls, and then move your way up to the advanced tier to learn some trickier manoeuvres.
Practice makes perfect
Team mates often explain that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is the first out for training and the last one in the locker room, and that's because he's determined to be the best player in the world. You won't need to spend quite as much time taking free kicks to win Rocket League's equivalent of the Ballon d'Or, but it's worth spending a little time with the title's practice modes. These test your defensive, offensive, and aerial abilities. If you want slightly less specific drills, try playing an exhibition match on All-Star difficulty against the AI; trying to keep a clean sheet in one-on-one mode is tough but great practice for the online suite.
Ball Cam is your buddy
Perhaps the biggest challenge in Rocket League is keeping your eye on the ball. The default camera option provides you with an arrow indicator and focuses the lens behind your car, but this isn't ideal. Instead, you're better off pushing the triangle button which locks the camera on the ball instead. This gives you a fuller view of the field without compromising your controls, and is the best way to play. You can toggle it on and off at any time by pushing the triangle button, too, so you can adapt on the fly if you need to.
Try not to chase the ball
There's a temptation in infant soccer to run towards the ball, but this isn't what happens in professional matches. Players are assigned positions and are expected to stick to them, and while you won't need to be as rigid in Rocket League, a rough understanding of positional play is important. For example, at the kick off you'll want one of your players to stay on the line if possible, as racing into the centre circle may see you getting lobbed and losing an easy goal. The same is true in general play; if your opponent's on the attack, try to make sure that one car stays back, so that you're ready to clear when a shot comes your way.
Bide your time
As above, you don't want to crowd the ball. If your team's on the attack, sometimes it's worth hanging back and getting a view of what's going on in front of you. Pick your moment and charge into the box when a cross comes in, as you'll have a better chance of getting on the end of it if you've got a full view of the field. In the four-on-four matches, things can get hectic – try to communicate with your team mates if you want the ball, as it's all too easy for someone to accidentally bunt it out of your way if you don't open your mouth.
Learn to fly
One of the most challenging techniques in Rocket League is also one of its most satisfying: aerial play. You'll need boost to get air time, so make sure that you're well stocked up. When you want to fly, double jump by pressing X twice, and then push the circle button. This will cause you to boost and, if you pivot the angle of your car so its rear is facing towards the ground, will allow you to fly. This is important for blocking shots defensively, and also shooting when the ball's in the air. It's by far the most challenging skill in the game, but take the time to practice and you'll be pulling off some seriously satisfying manoeuvres in no time.
Got to go fast
If you find yourself chasing the ball without boost, your double jump can give you an extra injection of speed. Just hop into the air and then push the X button again to get an added shot of momentum. Flip your car forward to minimise air time and land back on your wheels. Keep repeating this to get across the field faster than you would on acceleration alone, without using boost.
The handbrake is your friend
Much like real football, Rocket League is a game in which you'll be moving backwards and forwards a lot. Sometimes this means that you'll need to turn 180-degrees quickly, and the most effective way to do this is with the handbrake. Hit the square button to enter into a drift state, and push the analogue stick all the way left or right to swing your car around. You will slow down, but this is a much more effective method of turning than driving in a big semi-circle without the handbrake.
Do you have any other Rocket League tips to share? Do you like to play in a defensive or offensive position? Perhaps you prefer a mixture of both? Take your best shot in the comments section below.