Preview: Rocket Rumble Is a Stylized Take on Kart Racing

Screenshot: Rocket Rumble

There’s nothing quite like couch competitive multiplayer games. Something about sitting around with a group of people who you know while mercilessly beating them in a video game is wholesome fun. Some of the most fun I’ve had over the years with couch multiplayer was with kart racers—games like the Mario Kart or Sonic All-Star Racing series are always given a spin in my gaming group. That’s why it’s always a good thing to get more options, and Rocket Rumble looks like it’s shaping up to try to be a different sort of kart racer.

Rocket Rumble is a racing game where you and up to three other players race to the end while trying to take out opponents with weaponized pick-ups. Rocket Rumble doesn’t really bill itself as a kart racing game, but if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, etc. In this case, it has all of the hallmarks of a kart racer in a little bit of a scaled-down package. There are only four racers to compete, but they do so on colorful gravity-defying tracks. Pick-ups work as they do in most kart racers—you grab a pick-up that gives you a power-up, usually a weapon that can be hurled, or a mine that can be placed to (hopefully) trip up your opponents.

Screenshot: Rocket Rumble

While Rocket Rumble is certainly a colorful and interesting game, it lacks on a lot of fronts. Pick-ups are lackluster. Having only three other opponents feels a little empty.  And racing doesn’t feel very fast. Rocket Rumble is still in Early Access, however, so things may change down its development road. Unfortunately, as an online multiplayer game, trying to get into a match on a Friday night, it looks like Rocket Rumble might be DOA—but there’s always couch multiplayer!

Since Rocket Rumble is in Early Access that means it’s still in active development. Currently there are only three of a planned nine tracks available, and four characters to choose from—though there are a fair amount of unlockable customization options. Developer PixelNAUTS Games plans on keeping Rocket Rumble in Early Access until 2022, so it has a little bit of way to go until it hits full release.

Screenshot: Rocket Rumble

Unfortunately, Rocket Rumble isn’t going to be replacing any game in my kart racing line-up. There just aren’t that many people playing this very barebones game. Still, this is definitely not a final review, and I’m rooting for Rocket Rumble—especially if they stay away from a real money system, make some game improvements, and foster a good community. A tall order, but not impossible—and I’ll be keeping my eye on its progress.


Rocket Rumble is out in Steam Early Access.




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Antal Bokor
Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian.
He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.

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