In the world of futuristic sports, what do you think will come next? Battle royale matches on an alien planet? Plastic robots made to move using kinetic particles? Bipedal, weaponized mechs competing in internationally registered arenas? How about soccer with jumping, flying cars? Wait, that last one sounds familiar.
The future is here, sports fans, because Rocket League Sideswipe is here! Never heard of Rocket League before? That’s okay. Let us first introduce to you this monster of a game.
Developed by Psyonix, Rocket League has been one of the most exciting multiplayer games in recent years. Players hop into the driver’s seat of a Battle-Car; a car designed to jump, fly, and boost through an arena whilst attempting to score shots into the opposing team’s goal using a massive ball called a soccar ball (that isn’t a typo). As it is a sport, the team with the most goals at the end of the time limit wins.
Rocket League Sideswipe, a spinoff of the original Rocket League, is more downsized where each team is merely a pair and is played not in 3D, but 2D. The feel of the game remains as it is still highly competitive, exciting, and very challenging. Driving a car in 2D is different from driving in 3D, and your opponents are just as ready as you are.
Rocket League Sideswipe comes with three playable modes: Duel, Doubles, and Hoops. Duel involves a one-on-one match where both players have to shoot the soccer ball into the goal, Doubles plays like Duel except players compete in pairs, and Hoops is Doubles with a spin; you now technically play basketball with the soccar ball. These modes are easy to pick up but really hard to master, so buckle up and get ready to score!
If you’ve just hopped into this game and you want to know how to get better, read our Rocket League Sideswipe beginner’s guide below!
Know Your Goal From The Opponent’s Goal
The match begins. You drive off and bring the ball to the goal behind you. Success! The crowd goes wild but your teammate is seemingly upset. What happened?
For many people who don’t play sports, finding the goal that you’re supposed to shoot in might be confusing. But here, let’s break it down for you and keep it simple.
The goal which your car is facing is the goal you need to move the ball to and, with the default settings, your team is always on the right side. Keep this in mind and you should be able to protect your goal from the opposition. Moving around gets tricky sometimes, but never lose sight of the opponent’s goal.
This is but one of the many little things you’ll need to remember. The best way to actually get acquainted with the game’s controls is to practice by yourself and we don’t mean with real opponents.
Practice A Lot
In almost every other sports game out there, you are bound to test your skill against real people. Most of them have practiced their skill by facing actual opponents, but only a few face the greatest opponent of all: themselves.
How do you face off against yourself, though? While it sounds nigh impossible to do, the only way you can do this and improve your own skills is to enter the Training Mode. This isn’t just the tutorial phase you complete in the beginning, so check this mode out once in a while.
The Training Mode allows you to explore your strengths and weaknesses in handling your car. The best way you can do this is by playing Freeplay. This mode also offers you the choice of the three different arenas you may encounter online: Shortstack, S.C. Field, and Dunk House. You encounter these arenas in Duels, Doubles, and Hoops, respectively.
Here, you’ll be able to score some goals regardless of which side they’re on. One exercise you can try is to keep one side of the field as your goal. Like an actual match, score on one side as much as you can while defending the other side from your own mistakes. It should help you develop your defense skills as well as your offense skills. You may even discover some new maneuvers as you play.
The other type of training you can play is the Exhibition. This mode gives you the chance to compete against bots of varying skill levels and different game modes. If you’re fairly new to this game, your safest choice is to play Novice or Intermediate. However, if you’re after a real learning experience, go try Expert. Be observant here as you’ll see new maneuvers performed by the bots. With a bit of experimentation, you should be able to discover their secrets.
One secret that Training doesn’t teach you, however, is the secret of communication.
Communicate With Your Teammate
In the original Rocket League, all forms of chat are available to all players. In Sideswipe, having a chat function alone sounds like a burden.
It’s an unfortunate fact that mobile keyboards are clunky and quite difficult to type on, especially when they’re involved in other competitive mobile games. They eat up half of the screen, the keys are so tiny that they are prone to producing typographical errors, and they sometimes have arguably one of the most annoying inventions ever: auto-correct. Rocket League Sideswipe somewhat solves this problem by giving us the quick chat function.
Unlike a traditional chat feature, the quick chat simply allows players to express themselves on the go using emotes instead of words. The wacky graphics that appear atop your car are enough for you to express your joy, your regret, and other things you feel toward your teammate or the opposition. Instead of talking about how fun this is, let’s address how practical this sounds in a match.
First, fix your emote loadout. You can find this by tapping on your profile picture on the upper left. There, you will see your name and rankings.
There should be a pencil next to your name. Tap that.
In the screen that follows, you will be greeted with ways you can change your profile picture, banner, title, and the emotes themselves. Tap on the last button that looks like a speech bubble to edit your emotes.
This is where your emotes can be edited and swapped out. In doing this, you can freely customize which emotes you would like to use in a match to communicate with your teammate. Here are a few emotes we recommend you keep:
- In Position
- Got It
- Nice Shot
- Great Pass
- Thank You
- No Problem
You may notice that some of these emotes aren’t exactly ways to communicate with your partner and more to congratulate them on what they did. These help keep your morale up and do well as a team. If used in a duel, this could be used to bolster your opponent’s confidence, letting them ease up on you. In a way, it’s how you can play mind games with them, but it doesn’t work all the time.
Apart from communication, there’s one obvious aspect you should keep in mind while you’re in a match.
Follow The Ball
The most integral part of most sports is the use of a ball. Where the ball goes is what determines the score of each team. It’s certain that in Rocket League (either iteration), you will need to follow it. We mean this in two ways.
The first way you can follow the ball is physically. Generally driving your car after the ball is a good way to put pressure on the opposition since they’ll follow you and try to take the ball from you. While dribbling the ball requires skill on its own, it still forces your opponent(s) to try and guard their goal from you. If it isn’t you doing it, it should be your friend.
The second way you can follow the ball is to use your eyes. If the opposing team is on the offensive, keep your eye on the ball and react accordingly. As the ball nears your goal, attempt to defend until it’s on the other side of the field. As much as possible, keep your eye on it and make sure that the only goal it enters is your opponent’s.
There is plenty to keep an eye on especially when chaos ensues in a match. Aside from the ball, you should keep your eye on your own car and it’d be much easier if you make it stand out.
Make Your Car Stand Out
There you are, driving your bright-orange Octane on the Away Team, and you quickly notice that your teammate is driving one, too. When you finally swap to the Home Team, your Octane is blue but you also notice that your teammate has the same car. How do you tell yours apart from your friend’s or, in an extreme case, your opponent’s?
As you play the game, you will be rewarded with a lot of new accessories, skins, maybe even car bodies themselves. To make your car stand out, equip these. They may look absolutely silly, but it’s worth the trouble, so you know exactly where your car is going or where it might land. The most obvious things that make your car stand out are the following:
- Paint job
Let’s first talk about the paintjob. When a part of the Home Team, give your car some cool colors. With the Away Team, go for warm colors. That way, you’ll be reminded of which goal you should be scoring in and which goal you should protect. This alone, along with decals, perhaps, should be enough to make your car stand out.
For the Topper and Wheels, these may make your car look the silliest. If you really want your car to stand out, try these on. If you give yourself a full llama set, for example, you will undoubtedly stick out like a sore thumb. Fashionable and functional!
Lastly, the boost is what can help you determine who’s on the move. One of the more outrageous boosts is the money boost. If you use this and accelerate through the arena, the one burning cash everywhere should be a dead giveaway.
This covers all the tips for basic play. Now that we’re done with that, let’s move onto tips that involve specific types of game modes.
TIPS FOR DUELS
Duels are a one-on-one match. You and your opponent face off in the Shortstack arena. This arena, unlike the S.C. Field which is the usual arena, has smaller goals. Because of this, the matches are much quicker and goals are easier to score. While that sounds like it may work in your favor, don’t be so sure of yourself. The opponent may also have the same ideas you have in mind, so here are our tips for playing Duel Mode.
Read Your Opponent
This goes for every other competitive game out there — read your opponent.
Many expert players don’t simply get good by exercising their skill alone, they also know how to read their opponent. This includes the way the opponent moves their character, how they perform special actions or maneuvers, their reaction time, and the list goes on. But how can one read their opponent properly?
The easiest, simplest way is to observe what they do when you perform something. For instance, gaining possession of the ball at the start of the match: will the opponent chase you down? Will they stop following you and go on the defensive? What you need in mind after noticing such actions is to react accordingly. If they go on the defensive, for example, you can try to fool them into chasing you by bringing your ball closer to your goal… and then you turn around to send it flying into their goal.
Another seemingly advanced way of doing this is to let them score the first point. Watch and see if they have difficulty in scoring a point. A skilled player should be able to send the ball flying easily. Your feigned generosity may throw them off guard when you start playing seriously, forcing them to put their guard up a little too late.
Likewise, do not make yourself too easy to read. The worst possible way you can do that is by playing aggressively.
Don’t Play Too Aggressively
As a famous foolish samurai warrior wielding a magic sword once said: “He who runs with aggression walks without dignity.” But in Sideswipe, it’s more like: “He who plays aggressively is read more easily.”/i
Showing forms of aggression all the time like trying to constantly hog the ball or gunning for it the moment the timer drops is a sure way for your opponent to score over you. Sure, it may work sometimes, but oftentimes it’s only more detrimental to your advantage. Let’s go back to what we mentioned in a previous tip.
Follow the ball with your eyes. Play defensively at first and strike at the opponent’s goal once the ball has reached the other side of the field. Your opponent’s concentration may be thrown off-balance once they realize that their aggressive tactics might not be working.
Boosting too much can also leave you without any speed to reach the ball if it gets too close to your goal. Boost in bursts to avoid this and you should have enough fuel left in your tank to be able to make that save or score. This is a problem many aggressive players face since consuming your boost completely can put you in a tough spot.
The last thing you may pull off when defending or scoring without being too aggressive is making use of the arena itself.
Come From Unexpected Angles
The compact arenas of Sideswipe favor some stunt work by the players.
You can drive on the walls and ceiling, fly from corner to corner, shoot out of the goal, and many other ways you can impress other players. But you’re not out here to put on a show, you’re here to win! Is it possible to even look flashy while doing this?
Of course it is. Beneath the flash and flare, however, are form and functionality. For instance, swooping in from the top to make a save is easier to do than boosting up from the ground. The physics in the game should make your descent easier. Or how about scoring at the opponent’s goal from above their own goal? They won’t see it coming and it’s an unexpected angle for a quick point. Find these little opportunities and exploit them.
Duels are fun, short, and intense. But how about everybody’s favorite game mode? Will you fare better here?
TIPS FOR DOUBLES
This is undoubtedly everyone’s favorite game mode. Like traditional Rocket League, where you join a team of random players, the Doubles mode of sideswipe puts you in a team with a random player facing off against an opposing team with two other people in it. Naturally, the team that scores the most points by the end of the time limit is the victor. The clashing will be fierce, so strap yourself in and read our tips if you wanna get a head start!
Pass The Ball If Necessary
Doesn’t it feel great to score all on your own? You — the ace player, the MVP, the hero of your team. Imagine all the glory you get for looking so cool. Don’t let that get to your head, though; this is a team game!
That’s right, pal, this is a team game. You shouldn’t think of that all too much, you should instead try to work it out with your teammate. No need to fight over the ball, just support them when they have it. If they don’t but you have it, why don’t you pass it to them if they get into position?
Once you see that perhaps they’re within the opponent’s side of the field darting back and forth, they’re waiting to take the ball. Don’t keep them waiting, just pass it.
One other scenario when you should pass the ball is if your opponents are harassing you by trying to take the ball from you. If your friend is open, give the ball to them and hope that they attempt to score.
Hey, that last paragraph sounds just like our next item on this list.
Play Defense If Your Teammate Is Playing Offense And Vice Versa
While it always seems much fun to score points together with your friend, this isn’t always a practical way to play. Picture this: you and your partner make that valiant rush at the ball, attempting to make that point when suddenly, your opponent plucks the ball out of your grasp and hurls it straight into your goal. Nobody was left to defend your side of the field.
It pays to be observant, and once you’ve observed your partner going on the offense, immediately put yourself back on the other side of the field. Defense is just as important and trust us, your teammate will thank you for making those saves.
Conversely, if you notice your friend seemingly hanging back and guarding your side of the field, it’s your time to shine. Get in the thick and take that bad boy before the opposing team could. If your teammate reads you right, they’ll be sure to follow your lead.
There is a bit of a caveat here, but we’ll clear it up in a jiffy.
Don’t Move Too Far From Your Teammate During A Defense
We indirectly told you to be autonomous from your teammate in the previous item, but for your team’s sake, do not keep yourself too far from them.
They’ll be relying on you to keep the goal safe or even score points if you can, but if the both of you stick together during crucial moments, your defense will be much harder to break through. Think of it as fighting a war: you are both different soldier units. One unit guards the base while the other attacks. Let’s suppose you are the attacking unit; if you make your way back to base in time and you haven’t gotten too far behind enemy lines, you should be able to save it.
Likewise, if the enemy does this, exploit their defenses by passing the ball again. It will cause them to go after it even if it goes to your partner. Follow them up to the mid-field and watch them attempt a goal. You should be more successful that way.
Doubles are fun and are played like a soccer match, but what if you played basketball instead?
TIPS FOR HOOPS
Just when you thought this game couldn’t get any more insane. Rocket cars playing soccer? How about rocket cars playing basketball? Now that’s something worth seeing! Luckily, you’re a player and not just a member of the audience. Let’s dunk the opposition with these tips!
Follow The Doubles Tips
We couldn’t stress this enough.
The tips we have listed down for Doubles heavily apply to Hoops, especially those that talk about coordination and teamwork. There are a few exceptions and changes, though, especially with how the ball moves.
That said, let’s get on with the tips that actually apply to Hoops as a mode itself.
Wait At The Hoops When The Opposition Is On The Offensive
Hoops is a little bit more challenging than Doubles, but in this case, do try to wait at your hoop when the opposition is coming in for some points.
While you patiently wait there, you should be able to anticipate where the ball is gonna land. Most often, the ball will land a bit toward the frontal tip of the hoop. Many players make the mistake of driving up the ramp at the edge of the arena to catch it; don’t do that as you are more likely to miss.
To make things interesting for everyone (and we mean everyone), you can return the opponent’s shot from your hoop if you tackle the ball hard enough. This is all a matter of timing and hurling the ball at the opposing team’s part of the court should throw their coordination off-balance.
There is one last thing that sets hoops apart from the other two modes…
Always Shoot Upward
Scoring in hoops is much like actual basketball. The ball has to fly into the hoops, not come up from under them or at them.
An interesting mechanic the hoops have is that when the ball touches the “nets” these nets act like a forcefield. The cars can go through them, but not the ball. This is where some skill is involved: you will have to shoot the ball upward. You can do that by aiming the left stick at an upward angle and tackling the ball that way.
However, because the ball is a little bit more easy to predict, you will have to come up with interesting ways to make those points happen. Just like in the Duels, coming from unexpected angles could also help you win some points. In this mode, gravity is your friend. Try “flying” the ball into your opponent’s hoop by boosting into it midair.
To wrap things up, Rocket League Sideswipe is a game that involves lots of practice. You may have to spend time practicing on your own, if not going head to head with other people. If you learn a new trick or technique, try to master it in the practice mode. When you’re playing with other people, make sure that your communication game is up and that your car stands out apart from theirs. All three game modes play differently, but most of them follow similar rules. Once you’ve played through them all, you’ll be familiar enough to learn how to play the game better. Game on!
And that’s it for our beginner’s guide for Rocket League Sideswipe! Any tips that you’d like to share with us? Is there anything important that we may have missed? Let us know in the comment section down below!