Skates are cool. That was my takeaway when, at age 16, I saw Whip It in theaters, smiling as Elliot Page and Kristen Wiig bump into each other while skating wildly in an arena. Rollerdrome takes things to the next level. This game is, like, forget that kiddie shit. We’re making roller derby really deadly, and we’re going for more of a Hunger Games vibe than the gaudy, teen emo stuff we see in Whip It.
Fair enough, roll 7. Let the game begin.
I didn’t really know much about Rollerdrome before getting my hands on the preview build, and I was certainly surprised to learn that it was from the same team that created the Ollioli game. My colleague Andrew will tell you that Ollioly World is a light-hearted, goofy game that celebrates skateboard culture with lots of fun customization options to make your experience feel different. Rollerdrome is not like that at all.
Instead, we have a dystopian world set in 2030, where corporations effectively rule the world. In the true spirit of the Hunger Games, citizens – or sheep, if you – have become more vulnerable to violence, an issue that has only been aggravated by the emergence of a new bloodsport: rollerdrome.
At the rollerdrome, people put on their skates and enter an arena. It’s like roller derby, instead of trying to lap each other to score points, you’re shooting each other with firearms instead. Players take control of Kara Hassan, a new rollerdrome contender who wants to rise to the top of the game. Your task is to eliminate all the other contestants while performing brilliant moves in the arena to impress the crowd.
Image Source: Roll7
Right off the bat, the rollerdrome immediately feels awkward and harsh to play with. Controlling the Cara wasn’t as fluid or smooth as I’d initially hoped for, and she feels weighty on the skates. Once she gains momentum in one direction, it takes time to get out of the way, which means you absolutely have to know where you’re going from the start, and proceed accordingly .
Once you get the hang of the controls and things get underway, though, the Rollerdrome is a dream. Kara’s movements start to lighten up, and nothing beats the feeling of a good jump and grind. Rollerdrome is billed as a third-person shooter, but honestly, I could have spent hours skating around the arena and I would have been satisfied.
but because it Is A third person shooter set in a dystopian future where people watch other people kill for fun, let’s talk about fighting. Each level serves you to increase points and kill a set number of opponents. While you’re skating around, you can use the right stick to look around and tell Kara to automatically start shooting at your nearest enemy.
You can slow down the timing to make your shots more accurate, and you can dodge right to get those pesky snipers off your back. Every time you hit someone, you get a little healthier, allowing you to move on for a while. And when you run out of ammo, you refill it by doing cool moves in the arena. Pipe grinds, wall rides, wind spins… you name it. Figure out as many tricks as you can to quickly reload your gun and get back to shooting.
Rollerdrome levels are easy to pass, but you will soon find that it is really challenging to get high rankings in these levels. The game will let you enjoy the story and plot at your own pace, but it demands that you put in time and effort to master its controls if you want to be the best. Achieving a top rank requires accuracy, and the ability to move from one move to another during the course of a match. You need speed and moderation, and those are qualities that will only come with practice and with people dedicated enough to learn.
I feel like I’ve only scraped the tip of the iceberg with the preview build, as the Rollerdrome is great at keeping its cards close to the vest. The game’s distinctive art style and electric soundtrack help create a truly distinctive identity for this roller derby shooter, and I certainly can’t wait to see what else is in store. Skates have never looked cooler.