Disc Jam on PS4 has been tipped as the new Rocket League. But is it a high flyer or will it go kaput?
I have to confess, the popularity of Rocket League completely passed me by. People rave about it and several times I’ve been tempted, but by now I’m about a year too late to the party. Disc Jam (I was reliably informed) has been tipped as a possible contender to the throne, so I thought I’d get in there early and see what the fuss was about.
Developed independently by High Horse Entertainment, essentially this is frisbee mixed with air hockey – you throw a floating disc to one another, but the way it moves is more akin to the way you slam a hockey puck from side to side in order to try and sneak past your rival. Add in special abilities that, when charged, send the disc flying towards your opponent in a flaming zig-zag fashion and power returns that require a great level of precision, then the action soon becomes frantic.
The online multiplayer works well with few connection problems – although finding a rival with a similar ability to yours is currently pot luck, which can be disheartening for new players. Indeed, a lot of the core aspects of Disc Jam are fairly random – unlocking new costumes, taunts or tags requires 1,000J to be inserted into a gumball machine for a random prize. J is earned by playing online, but it would be nice to have a little more choice over what gets unlocked – several times I’ve won outfits for a character I’m not playing as, which is frustrating.
It’s also a shame that you only earn J for playing random online matches – when inviting friends for a game, you sacrifice that opportunity. Whilst I can appreciate there is the possibility players might abuse the system and earn J by playing against friends, ultimately it feels like a punishment for enjoying the game with people you know. Even more so given the reward system is completely randomised anyway.
But let that not diminish just how fun Disc Jam can be. Air hockey has long been popular in arcades and you’ll find that same thrill here as you sneak the disc past your rival or manage to catch it at the last moment. A few good throws can turn the scoreline around and Disc Jam certainly benefits from the “just one more go” temptation, which will see you play long after you intended to quit. And the soundtrack is an absolute killer as well.
So is it a Rocket League beater? Right now, no. With limited online gameplay options (1 vs 1 or 2 vs 2 battles) and a small roster of four characters, as fun as the game is, you already get the sense that in order for it to become more than a novelty, it needs a lot more content, customisable options and gameplay modes. But the developers have promised years of support for Disc Jam, so as with any such title, its score now is almost entirely arbitrary because it’s not a finished product.
However since the game is currently free on PS Plus, there’s absolutely no excuse not to download it and get stuck in.