How does hero shooter Rocket Arena compare to Overwatch?

Is this Pharah-only mode? Not exactly.

rocket arena overwatch

Rocket Arena, the first game from First Strike Games studio, is a colorful, over-the-top hero shooter that at first glance may seem very Overwatch-like. The two games share some similarities, but there are a lot of big differences you need to know about too, especially if you are looking to transfer your Overwatch experience into Rocket Arena. Here, we break down the similarities and differences between the two games.

Gameplay

Like Overwatch, Rocket Arena pits two teams of players in a fast-paced battle across tight, colorful arenas with a lot of vertical space. The first obvious difference is that all of Rocket Arena‘s competitive modes are 3v3s, unlike Overwatch‘s 6v6 standard. Players also cannot switch between characters once the match begins.

Gameplay mechanics are also completely different. Rocket Arena is actually more of a 3D action platformer than a shooter. The arenas are built with a focus on vertical movement and come with things like jet-streams and bridge-connected towers. Meanwhile, the damage system is straight out of Super Smash Bros. As a player gets blasted by enemy rockets and abilities, they can be knocked further and further away with each new hit, until they are knocked clear out of the arena.

Game modes


Rocket Arena‘s modes seem to be more focused on frenetic action and less on coordinated team-play. That said, just like Overwatch, this hero shooter will allow for players’ individual skill to shine through in creative combos and plays, be it in scoring objectives and points or destroying opponents.

The game launches with four competitive game modes, with Knockout being the signature, more-or-less-Deathmatch queue. Then there are two objective-based modes, Mega Rocket and Treasure Hunt, which will get players to think a bit more about their goals and tactics. Then there is Rocketball, which seems like Rocket Arena‘s take on Quidditch. In this competitive mode, the teams will be trying to score points against each other by “running, throwing, or blasting the Rocketball” into each other’s goals.

Finally, Rocket Arena also features a single cooperative mode named Rocketbot Attack. In this mode, teams of players will have to blast AI opponents before a timer runs out. How this will compare to Overwatch‘s limited time cooperative events – or the co-op campaign of Overwatch 2, for that matter – is up for PvE players to determine for themselves.

Heroes and setting

Raphael van Lierop AMA for The Long Dark

Images via Blizzard Entertainment / Electronic Arts.

Rocket Arena features 10 playable heroes at launch and will add a new one each season. At that rate, it will take a while for this hero shooter to catch up to the roster of options in Overwatch. On the plus side, all Rocket Arena heroes are free for players to use – just like in Overwatch. The game’s art style and characters are cartoony and over-the-top, which is to be expected. That type of setting became a genre staple with the success of shooters like Overwatch, Paladins, and Fortnite. Unlike Overwatch and Paladins, however, Rocket Arena‘s presentation seems a bit flat.

The Overwatch community has become really connected to its game’s setting and lore over the years, but it’s uncertain if Rocket Arena will achieve the same thing with its opening cast of old archetypes and forced cuteness. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of work put into each character’s character. We have a pirate with a cannon and an anchor, a British hunter with a mustache, a kid version of Mei… you get the picture. The lack of depth isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, and it’s possibly deliberate. It makes Rocket Arena a game that can be understood with a glance.

The abilities of Izell, one of the 10 heroes available at launch.

Originality aside, heroes are designed to allow for a variety of playstyles. Everyone on Rocket Arena‘s cast uses explosive projectiles and comes with a form of vertical mobility. However, each hero has different primary fire characteristics, and a couple of unique abilities like a grapple, or a set of bouncing, homing mines. Even if they don’t connect with any of the characters’ personalities, Rocket Arena players are bound to find heroes that suit their playstyle.

Platforms and support

Rocket Arena is a pay-to-play game and will be available on PC and consoles. PC players can in fact already pre-order it on Steam. The game launches on July 14 and will be supported with season passes, rotating events, and new hero and map releases.