From Roll7, the developers behind the brilliant skateboarding game OlliOlli World, comes another propulsive thrill ride. Launching today on PC, PS4 and PS5, Rollerdrome is a single-player rollerblading game with a difference.
Set in the year 2030, Rollerdrome centres on a bloodsport played by rollerblading gunmen, which has seemingly become the biggest entertainment franchise on Earth. Each competitor must try to survive whilst getting the highest score possible, in a series of skatepark-like arenas that are packed with armed enemies. Each match ends when you've dispatched all the 'House Players' on the map (or if they kill you, you have to start again).
You take on the role of a talented newcomer to the game who must shoot her way through heats, quarter-finals, semi-finals and ultimately attempt to take the crown in the final. You'll spend most of your time on your blades, but there are also short interactive environments to be found between some of the levels which will give you a wider understanding of the lore/world at large.
These story-driven segments are an admirable inclusion (we would've liked to see more of them, to be honest), but the main attraction here is the action in the arenas. The Rollerdrome gameplay starts off seeming simple — you begin with one gun, a chunky health bar, and the House Players in your way don't put up too much of a fight — but things escalate quickly.
As you unlock each new arena, you'll gradually receive new weapons (including a satisfying shotgun and brutal grenade launcher) to decimate your opponents with. But your foes will also get stronger and more creative. At the start they have simple melee weapons or easy-to-dodge sniper riffles, but eventually they get sturdy shields, teleportation powers and massive mechanical killing machines (think the ED-209 from RoboCop).
It doesn't take long for the game to feel properly challenging, and you'll need to get into a proper flow state if you want to keep pushing ahead (something that OlliOllie World fans will remember). You'll need to dodge frequently, time your attacks perfectly and perform rollerblade stunts whenever you have a spare second (this is how you replenish your ammo).
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You might feel some frustration the first few times that the House Players defeat you, but we'd encourage you to persevere. Once you get into that flow and start to feel some mastery over the game, it becomes a highly satisfying experience. You'll find yourself looking at the clock and thinking, sure, I've got time for that hallowed 'one more game' (even if you really should be getting to bed, work or wherever else you're meant to be).
Everything outside of the core gameplay adds to your experience in positive ways, too. The synth-laden soundtrack underscores everything with a sense of urgency, while the game's unique colour pallet makes every match pop with colour and excitement. There are also extra challenges in each level, giving you a reason to revisit multiple times and try to outdo yourself.
This is an action game with a difference, and you've really got to admire that. The core gameplay idea feels original and is delivered with aplomb (the game always feels great on the sticks), while the overall presentation wraps it all up in a very memorable and striking way. This world is an interesting one, too, and we'd love to roll back into it at some point.
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