Strap on those skates. Put on those kneepads. Fasten that helmet. The pressure is on. And that's before everyone loads their firearms. That's the idea behind Rollerdrome, the latest effort from OlliOlli developer Roll7, which takes Tony Hawk-style extreme sports and adds in the dangerous wrinkle of armed hitmen all aiming their guns, ready to fire.
At first glance, Rollerdrome looks like a standard arcade skating title, albeit on four-wheeled roller skates instead of a skateboard. Players will skate across various venues, like indoor skate parks, shopping malls, or ski resorts. They'll go up half-pipe ramps, grind across rails, and perform daring tricks. Using a controller, players can perform different tricks by holding different directions on the analog stick while also combining them for high scores. The twist is that racking up a high score is only part of the objective.
The other part involves shooting a bunch of gun-toting mercenaries before they can take you down with heavy arms. It's one thing to perform an 18-string combo coming off ramps, riding across walls, and landing in a grind on a nearby rail. Try doing that while a deadeye sniper is aiming all the way from across the stage or while some giant brute is firing off a hail of rockets.
In addition to skating, Rollerdrome utilizes third-person shooting mechanics. "How does this even work?" one might ask. The answer involves auto-aiming, as players can hold the left trigger to start a bullet time feature called Reflex Time. Reflex Time's function is twofold: It gives players a chance to pick their next target, but it also allows them to scout more of the stage's layout and plan their next line of tricks accordingly.
What's particularly inventive about this combination of genres is that there's incentive to keep moving and keep shooting. Ammo is limited and it will feel especially scarce as the game goes on and more baddies take the field. Skaters can refill their clips by performing different tricks. Spamming the same trick repeatedly won't work, so players will have to mix up their flips, grinds, and wall rides. Enemies are inevitably going to get their hits in, especially as armored foes with land mines and rockets step forward, but players can fortunately refill their health slightly with every successful kill.
Skilled players will make Rollerdrome look like ballet, fluidly piecing together tricks, using the dodge button to avoid incoming fire, and nailing a successful shotgun blast to clear out bigger foes. Other players will notice that the action grows increasingly frantic, especially as the AI is frighteningly accurate in most cases. Rollerdrome can be tough, especially since this is almost the literal opposite of a cover shooter. However, nailing a good run where you can rack up a high score and survive is a satisfying achievement.
Unveiled at PlayStation's State of Play earlier this year, Rollerdrome is shaping up to be unlike anything the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater crowd had ever seen. There's so much of the formula that's in place, but the added component of an arena shooter makes it feel wholly unique. It likewise feels totally different from Roll7's OlliOlli series, yet it also feels fun in its own distinct way. I've already unlocked dual pistols, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher, but it'll be interesting to see what else this game adds to what's already an intriguing formula. Rollerdrome is set to release on PC (via Steam), PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on August 16.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Rollerdrome feels like Tony Hawk Pro Shooter
Is it all arenas? The Mercs part made me think open world city; none of the screens do.