Rollerdrome Title

Geek Errant Recommends: Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome is a great example of a game that can push me just enough out of my comfort zone that I start appreciating a genre I previously couldn’t.

As a general rule, I don’t play games for the challenge of bashing myself against the difficulty to increase a score. 

I like the experience of playing with fun mechanics, but don’t feel any need to force myself into mastery over them beyond the point of frustration.

I’m 100% not playing through till I S-Rank every stage though. That would require a mastery of the mechanics I’m simply not capable of. 

The fastest way of describing Rollerdrome is that you need to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Max Payne at the same time with the same controller.

Go fast, look good, do kill

You are Kara Hassan – competing in bloodsports that require you to skate around an arena, murdering half a dozen types of enemies before they get you, being stylish as hell as you do so. 

And sometimes you’ll fight tanks or mechs too.

The first time you play through a level, it will be messy. 

  • You’ll take hits from enemies you haven’t seen. You’ll mess up combos that you haven’t tricked together.
  • You will finish the level, but often it won’t be completed.
  • Every time after that? You’ll learn more. You’ll get better. 

Which is beneficial, as you’re in a tournament, with multiple events to be completed between heats. 

Narrative tissue between those events that starts to paint a picture of the world of Rollerdrome, a world where it’s weekday evening entertainment to watch a bloodsport where rocket launching mechs are pitted against contestants on skates. 

And Rollerdrome presents all this with beautiful Moebius influenced cel shared art in a muted 70s style palette with harsh texturing and stark line work.

Three metrics of Success in each round guide the structure –

  • Achieve victory within a level by defeating all the enemies regardless of score. 
  • Complete all ten challenges within a level (not all within one run)
  • Attain a Rank from D-S via a spectacular combo that hits the points target. 

The first one is how you initially progress through a stage of the tournament. You have to beat all the opponents on a map to move to the next one. 

Then you have to complete a certain number of challenges overall to get access to the next tournament stage.

And then there’s the personal challenge of getting those S Ranks. 

I’m not going to say Rollerdrome is for everybody. It was taxing to play through, stretching my mind and my hands as I juggled the half dozen different things going on in any moment. 

But what it absolutely was was unique. 

As the beautiful original electronic soundtrack from Electric Dragon played, I kept finding myself completely lost in the chaotic action and demanding play of Rolledrome. Constantly dodging, stringing together combos, frantically seeking that last opponent to close the map out.

I don’t think I was particularly good at Rollerdrome. But I definitely enjoyed it.

Rollerdrome is available now on Playstation 4/5 or on PC via Steam