There’s a real sense of speed, motion, and style fuelling Rollerdrome that can only be matched by the early Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games of the PS1 era. The second game in the space of six months from British team Roll7 feels sublime to play, asking you to kill enemies with a touch of swagger in between performing tricks and grinds for a high score.
We’ve had the chance to play the game’s first six levels, and all we want to do is write this Hands On article as quickly as possible so we can get straight back to rollerblading. The OlliOlli World developer has something special on its hands.
The setup is this: you’re competing in a deadly sport in the year 2030 where entrants must post a high score through a combination of stylish tricks and kills. Your guns have limited ammunition, and so after popping off the 12 or so bullets in the chambers of your dual pistols, you’ll get that ammo back by landing tricks. This creates the game’s loop: you’ll eliminate as many enemies on the skate park as you can, all the while replenishing your ammo reserves as you go via wallrides and nose grabs. The round is complete once every foe on the field is dead, and then you’ll have your score.
Enemies start off fairly basic, equipped with simple batons that hardly ever pose a problem. However, the game’s first six levels quickly ratchet up the difficulty with snipers, tanks, and teleporting rivals to think about. Your health pool is fairly small, so these threats must be incorporated into your flow as you dodge a sniper shot in mid-air and then return to performing tricks and getting your ammo back. It turns the title into something more akin to a dance; kill a few weaker enemies, reload your weaponry as you dodge their own attacks, and then return to down more powerful foes.
When it all lines up correctly, Rollerdrome feels incredible to play. The intuitive control system comes naturally after just a couple of rounds, and it’s a genuine joy to engage with. We continually fired up previous levels just to experience that flow, motion, and speed all over again and improve on our scores — it never, ever gets boring. We’re lining up routes and strategies in our sleep at this point: tackle the first two enemies, get our ammo back with a few tricks on the nearby half pipe, then move onto the sniper sat atop their perch, and finish by grinding up to the tank and down it with shotgun shells. One more time: it feels unbelievable to play.
And to dispel any fears or myths: Rollerdrome is a purely single player experience. The only online functionality to speak of is leaderboards that compare your scores to the rest of the world, which is an essential feature for a game of this ilk.
The first six levels have taught us how to flow successfully; we cannot wait to see what awaits us as we push further into the competition and experience its final stages. If Rollerdrome keeps up its sensational sense of flow and style, and continues to couple it with new stages and enemies to change your approach, then this is easily one of 2022’s best PS5, PS4 titles. It’s a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game in all but name — and what your feet are planted in just so happens to be different.
The first six levels of Rollerdrome alone have already provided us with truly wondrous moments and feelings; it’s almost a privilege to know there’s so much more to come.
Rollerdrome releases for PS5 and PS4 on 16th August 2022, and a PS Plus Premium Trial will be made available at launch. Will you be taking Roll7’s latest for a spin next month? Work on your grinds in the comments below.
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