Rocket League is one of 2015’s surprise hit games. Find out what makes Rocket League so popular, and why one Game Rant writer considers it his Game of the Year.

As we near the end of 2015, I find myself looking back at 2015’s biggest games, wondering which I consider my personal Game of the Year. Is it The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, with its rich, fully realized world, and incredible storytelling? Is it Bloodborne, and its grim, unforgiving, but rewarding combat? Is it Batman: Arkham Knight, which provides players with perhaps the ultimate Batman experience? Or is it Fallout 4, with its massive scope and countless hours of entertainment spent wandering post-apocalyptic Boston? The short answer is “nope.” My game of the year is Rocket League.

Rocket League really came out of nowhere, releasing as a free PlayStation Plus title last July, and has continued to enjoy tremendous success since then. I had never even heard of its predecessor, the unfortunately named Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars, and was really only downloading it because it was free. Little did I know that at the time, I was downloading the game that I would be playing more than any other game of 2015.

Rocket League screenshot

When I first played Rocket League, I didn’t expect much. In fact, going in, I assumed that it would be a shallow experience that would get old quickly. Five hours later, I was still glued to the screen, telling myself, “Just one more match” over and over again. I hadn’t been so addicted to a game in years, and it really reminded me why I enjoy video games so much.

But what makes Rocket League such a great game itself? I think the answer is simplicity. Yes, I have greatly enjoyed my time spent with huge and complicated games like Fallout 4 as well, but there’s something about them that is draining after awhile. Rocket League, on the other hand, never gets old, and I always leave the game feeling energized. Win or lose, I have fun with Rocket League. I never become frustrated, and that’s saying something, considering one particularly skilled player destroyed me 27 to 0 once.

Rocket League‘s concept of “soccer with cars” is boiled down to be as simple as possible, so virtually anyone can pick up a controller and immediately be comfortable with the game. Everything is streamlined, designed so players are able to get to the action as fast as possible. The only time one really spends in menus in Rocket League is when customizing vehicles or deciding if they should bring the Back to the Future Delorean into the next match or not. Matchmaking is lightning fast, and that’s no surprise considering the game has been downloaded over 5 million times to date, and has managed to maintain a large community of players.

Rocket League's Back to the Future DeLorean

Developer Psyonix has been able to do this thanks to a steady stream of paid and free DLC, which help to keep the community engaged. The free DLC has included significant additions to the game, such as new stadiums as well as game-changing mutators which greatly change the way people play Rocket League. The paid DLC has mostly included new battle cars, with the next paid DLC, the Chaos Run expansion, adding two more cars to the game’s already deep roster of vehicles.

Rocket League is awesome because of its simplicity, and its focus on fun, fast-paced gameplay over anything else. Rocket League is being nominated for three awards at The Game Awards 2015, including Best Independent Game, Best Sports/Racing Game, and Best Multiplayer. I believe that it is deserving of all three awards, and, quite frankly, it should have been nominated for the overall Game of the Year as well. Did it have as big of a budget or as many gameplay features as some of 2015’s heavy hitters? No – but I would argue that Psyonix managed to accomplish a lot more with Rocket League by doing a lot less. Out of all the great games that came out this past year, Rocket League is the only one that I am completely confident that I will still be playing in 2016.

Did you enjoy Rocket League? Which game is your Game of the Year so far? Fallout 4The Witcher 3Bloodborne? Something else entirely? Let’s talk about our favorite games of 2015 in the comments below.

Rocket League is out now for PC and PlayStation 4.