From the creative minds behind the critically successful Olli Olli World comes the upcoming high-octane third-person shooter on a pair of snazzy skates: Rollerdrome. Roll7’s newest project is set in the not-so-far-away year of 2030, where players enter into a vicious sport of roller derbying with guns. You play as Kara Hassan, a newcomer to the scene, attempting to climb the ranks and unravel the mystery of the masterminds behind this bloody ordeal.
At first glance, the unique cel-shaded lines and shadows of Rollerdrome reminded me of the graphics from Sable, another fantastic indie game that was released not too long ago. However, while the works of Moebius inspired Sable’s art, Rollerdrome seems to perfectly mesh the styles of Moebius, and the Sega hit Jet Set Radio. Paired with an adrenaline-inducing soundtrack composed of techno beats and nostalgic 80s vibes, Rollerdrome is already looking and sounding like an absolute blast.
It’s true: riding roller skates and shooting things does indeed feel badass, with a side of suave and debonair. Rollerdrome can best be described as a level-based, arcade-style shooter where you rack up points by completing challenges, performing tricks, and of course, killing people. You progress through a plethora of stages and arenas, ranging from the snowy mountaintops of Civetta Summit to the colorful shops of the Houston Mall. Each level feels artistically distinct and handcrafted, further adding to the allure of the cel-shaded art style. Tutorial tests are sprinkled in at a reasonable pace, teaching you more advanced mechanics such as acid drops, wall rides, and safety grabs as you make it further into the game.
Rollerdrome smoothly blends gunplay with skating as you can only refill your ammo by performing tricks. This not only emphasizes strategic use of your ammo but also forces you to learn which combos and moves to perform depending on the arena you are in. Don’t worry; multiple guns can be unlocked, including a shotgun with a Slug Mode mechanic in addition to a rocket launcher. You get this super cool reflex time that slows down time as you aim your gun, but it won’t last forever, so better act fast! Any shooter game requires a wide variety of enemies, and this game does not disappoint. You are pitted against snipers, juggernauts, and even mechs in your mission to uncover the mysteries of this retro-future world.
Playing on a keyboard and mouse gets the job done for the most part, but it feels a bit stiff and wonky when trying to pull off specific tricks and moves. Thankfully, the game does recommend playing on a controller for the best experience. Speaking of controls, Roll7 blows it out of the park when it comes to accessibility options, including an invincibility mode, infinite ammo, and infinite reflex time, among other toggles. It’s amazing to see games incorporate more settings that allow flexibility for their players. The PlayStation 5 version of the game will also support adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and 3D audio.
Rollerdrome brings enough innovation and creativity to stand out from other titles, featuring a unique blend of skating and shooting, all wrapped together in a comic-book-shaded art style and heart-thumping soundtrack.
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