Swap out skateboards for rollerskates, and zooming around in Rollerdrome feels a lot like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
There are ramps to shoot up, for example, allowing you to thrust yourself in the air and perform a grab or a spin. You can rail grind, too, and combining any number of button presses will see you contort into endless arrays of tricks. There’s one major difference between Tony Hawk’s games and the upcoming action game from Roll7 though: guns. That’s right: Rollerdrome combines shooting with skating. And based on our time with the preview build, it’s going to be something special.
Sporting a comic book-inspired art style, it’s clear right away that Rollerdrome wants to carve out a unique identity. An opening story sequence informs you that it’s the year 2030 and a new, deadly combat sport has taken the world by storm. That would be Rollerdrome, and you’re the latest champion to compete. A short tutorial teaches you the ropes, but after that, you’re thrown into an arena with only one goal: kill your competitors before they kill you.
Roll7 has done a fantastic job of making Rollerdrome feel super-slick to play. Shooting and performing tricks go hand-in-hand thanks to a mechanic that means performing stunts refills your ammo. Your starting weapon, dual pistols, only has 12 shots, so you’ll need to constantly keep yourself fancifully mobile if you want to keep bullets on you. You’ll need to be within range of a combatant before you can shoot them, and thankfully you don’t need to worry too much about precise aiming. Get close enough, and a reticule will appear on your target. Simply pull back the trigger and watch them take damage.
It isn’t easy, though. Mastering Rollerdrome is going to take some serious skill: a mixture of pulling off high-scoring stunts and keeping your finger on the pulse when it comes to shooting. You’re eased in with puny enemies that require only a few shots to destroy, but it won’t be long until you’re facing off against hardened fighters with shields, giant robots and more. Throw into the mix snipers and homing missiles that you need to dodge to avoid, various collectibles to pick up in every match, and a big list of objectives to try and meet, and you have a lot to contend with.
What is particularly unusual given the nature of Rollerdrome is that this is a single player game. Its format could easily be applied to an online multiplayer experience, but Roll7 has chosen to make this a solo experience, and honestly, we’re relieved. The single player focus allows an intriguing narrative to be woven into the gameplay, and between matches you’ll find yourself learning more about the mysterious corporation that’s supporting Rollerdrome events.
Suffice to say, there isn’t really anything else like Rollerdrome out there. And come its release date in August, you’re going to want to keep your eye on this. Its blend of rollerskating tricks and fast-paced shooting might seem like an odd combination, but in motion, they work together seamlessly, creating a challenging and exhilarating experience. And we can’t wait to play more.
Rollerdrome launches on 16th August. It will be available on PS4, PS5 and PC.