Rollerdome - The Perfect Blend of Skill and Thrill

A genre blending experience you have to try
Rollerdome(Used with permission)
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT
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(HARDWIRED) - From the moment my skates scrape the concrete as I build up speed down a corridor leading to a massive ramp. Music begins to pump in as I hear the gathering of combatants just on the other side of this jump. Woosh! I grab my skate and spin out the of the ay of incoming sniper fire. Now time moves slowly, and I take advantage of this by delivering a devastating blow to melee combatant. Land down, dodge the incoming missiles and into a sick 50-50 grind. Flip out of the grind into a perfectly timed headshot on a sniper landing behind and enemy to clean up the last combatant. In this one instance, I knew, THIS game was made for me. Because that is some straight up Tony Hawk style ‚hitting the beats of Max Payne all delivered with a synthwave electronic beat that pumps my blood up.

And it would be all to easy to say that Rollerdrome, this wonderful mashing up of genres, is just Tony Hawk but with guns. Saying that would do a great disservice to the intricate way in which this game delivers not just one of the most uniquely fresh experiences of the year but also a story of the struggle against fascist oppression sold out to a military industrial complex using blood-sport to distract from it’s own brutal dealings.


I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s backtrack to gameplay, because this is where Roll7 has really outdone themselves. Your trickionary is simple, press square to grab add a direction for some variety and add an R1 to make it flippy. But the feeling nailing these combos and finding the best flow between areas is what makes it work. To maintain a combo you have to not only incorporate as many different moves as possible but also deliver unique kills and stay focused on taking enemies out. It’s this system of kill and skill chains that make you feel like a divine figure gliding from one piece of carnage to another. The focus mode that slows time down makes you feel truly in control no matter how many very angry rockets or glowing evil mines are coming your way. Performing a perfect dodge grants you additional ammo and a boost to damage while in focus mode.

Oh yeah, there are no traditional reloads in this shooter experience, no, you got to skill to get more kills. Meaning performing various tricks like flips and grinds reloads and replenishes your ammo. For me this is the coolest aspect of the game, helping the momentous glory of speeding around an arena not get bogged down with reload animations. Ultimately the concept of the gameplay is simple: Skate or die. Stop moving and you will be sent directly to the elimination circle as in a bullet will likely catch you slipping into an early grave.

Rollerdrome drips this comic book, 70s art-deco sci-fi aesthetic that leaps from the screen in an incredible display. The team takes heavy inspiration from James Caan’s film Rollerball, a classic in its own right, picking up on the similar themes of corporate backed fascism using the poverty stricken masses for bloodsport entertainment. The actual story of Rollerdrome can be easy to miss if you get caught up in the kinetic fast pass of the gameplay and blaze through the exploration areas.

It’s world is delivered in subtle cues, environmental storytelling and overheard conversations so be sure to take your time when between areas. Kara Hassan, the main character here is the underdog, her skills are immediately recognized amongst the contestants as she battles her way through hoards of corporate hired militants. The visuals on display as she rolls from one globe trotting arena to the next are always stunning. Explosions have this direct kind of almost bombastic looking cloud rendered in a flawless comic style. Snipers draw red lines across the map with laser sights drawing a bead on Kara. All of this chaos is backed by what is arguably the greatest soundtrack of the year. Makes my hair stand up with how electrifying it is, they nailed the audio delivery of this games style so hard! I’m literally listening to Echo Basin right now while writing this, that’s how good it is.


As my Rollerdrome career just started off, I solely strived to beat each course, delivering satisfyingly fluid movements mixed with Matrix style takedowns. I would 540 flip over a man and nail him BAM square in the skull with a shotgun round only to later discover the game’s progression system requires more than this. To reach the second tier of stages, Kara must first complete a specific number of mini objectives. Now these goals range from “oh yeah that’s doable” to “I have to finish this who level with just the pistols?!”

These goals are Pro Skater-like which can lead to frustrating moments but I think the variety of skills levels in the types of challenges actually makes returning to a course over and over more enticing. I’m not normally a competitive person but man, I worked hard to achieve the highest score possible while accomplishing the most challenges I could. The gameplay loop is just that good.

Later levels, introduce much more taxing enemies and since the multiplier for combos only advances on kill, Kara has to get more creative about keeping that meter going. I found myself locked in on the loop of experimenting with different paths for takedowns, striving for that perfect score. Especially when up against the few boss fights in the game. I know I’ll be stuck in trying to platinum this one for a while.


Something about Rollerdrome is just a perfect click, from it’s easy to pick up, rock-hard to master gameplay to it’s 70′s science –fiction vibes this game just speaks to me. It’s gunplay is smooth thanks to an always on auto-aim, the skating is fluid, frenetic and full of great moments and it’s easy to get lost in just how good these systems are. There are no fluff mechanics, nothing you’ll decide you don’t need to know or a weapon you wont use because it sucks. Everything serves a purpose and though the bloodsport is awful if you think about it for too long, it’s thoroughly enjoyable while you experience it.

Rollerdrome is the magnum opus of Roll7 and by far my favorite game of theirs. Easily a can’t miss masterpiece which is why I’m giving this skating arena shooter a 10.

Masterpiece(Andrew Hamilton)

More game genre mashups please.

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