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The main gameplay in Rochard revolves around using physics-based weaponry to advance through a futuristic base. Unlike those games, however, Rochard takes place in a 2D sidescrolling environment. With his unique equipment, it is possible for Rochard to pick up and use items such as crates and boxes to solve puzzles and get around obstacles. He will also gain the ability to lower gravity early on in the game, which not only allows him to jump farther, but also allows for boxes and other objects to be thrown farther. Force fields come into play as well, with differently colored fields having different effects.
Physics come into play during combat as well. When Rochard encounters a space pirate, he can use crates to hide behind in order to avoid enemy fire. When attacking, he can hurl the crates into enemies, killing them. A later upgrade will allow Rochard to return fire with a gun of his own, although the repurposed mining tools which comprise his arsenal are not quite as powerful as the guns of the space pirates, and as Rochard is a miner, not a soldier, he'll have to be careful of gunfire. His health will deplete quickly if hit.
As Rochard upgrades his weapon, new areas of the ship will become accessible. Numerous hidden items are scattered about the environment, and some backtracking will be required to get them all.
John Rochard, leader of the lowest producing team of astro-miners the Skyrig Corporation ever employed, accidentally discovers an ancient structure hidden deep in an asteroid. Soon afterwards, John’s team goes missing without a trace and he finds himself stranded on the asteroid and under attack by space bandits. John quickly realizes that dangerous forces are at work, determined to use the discovery for their own sinister means.
As the supposed reinforcements of his boss Maximillian arrive, it is revealed that they are in league with the space bandits. Fighting his way down through the tunnels to get to his trapped team mates Skyler and Zander. As John reaches them, Zander succumbs to his wounds, sending both Skyler and John on a path to uncover the mystery surrounding their recent find and to avenge their fallen colleague. The ancient structure turns out to be an alien temple, containing Native American glyphs. Unable to read the engravings, John and Skyler decide to head for Floyd, Skyler's uncle, who's Native American roots might help them make sense of it all.
Upon arriving on the seemingly deserted asteroid-based casino, John heads to Floyd’s office. It turns out the space bandits have taken over the casino and John has to fight his way to the office which is found vacant. Skyler suggests John to head to the money vault, where Floyd might have barricaded himself. Upon finding Floyd, John is told about an ancient legend of Native American Indians and the Katsina statues that grant its user divine powers. It is revealed that he has to get a decoder disc from his boss’s office, located in the Skyrig head quarters, to be able to find the real Katsina temple. John fights his way to meet Skyler in an abandoned hangar, from where they take off to the Skyrig head quarters.
John infiltrates the head quarters using ventilation shafts and other back doors, avoiding security cameras while sneaking his way towards his boss’ office. Once presence is noticed, he has to fight his way to the office, where he finds the decoder ring that can be used to decipher the strange writings at the alien temple. John escapes the office and battles his way past sky police and their combat droids to reach a secluded cargo hangar. Skyler picks up John and they head back to the mining asteroid.
The pirates have trashed the place so John decides to take an alternate route to the alien temple. After fighting an army of droids and turrets, John has to use a huge mining laser to get into the alien temple. At the temple he finds out that the decoder ring is actually a power source, which makes the strange markings on the walls glow. A large star map is revealed pointing to the Casino Asteroid they visited earlier. Sky police have found John and Skyler and they get separated. John has to find an alternative way to the hangar. When John gets there he finds Skyler captured by the space police and his ship being blown up. He decides to use an old race bird “Switchblade” to pursue the sky police and Skyler to the casino.
John enters the abandoned part of the casino asteroid, which is an old Skyrig mine. On his way to the second alien temple he finds an old "Helga" G-Lifter, which has old hazardous features still active: it's able to grab human characters and shoots anti-gravity charges which lift objects they attach to. He fights his way to the Katsina temple and finds his boss holding the Katsina statue there. In the ensuing fight, John comes very close to Maximillian. When he is about to defeat his boss, a giant vortex appears devouring first Maximillian, followed by Skyler and John. They are all sucked into another dimension, leaving only an ominously glowing "Helga" G-Lifter behind.