When Tony Hawk pulls out the guns, it drives us crazy

rollerdromeIt’s the year 2030, the heroine of the day is called Kara Hassan, and her goal is to win the Rollerdrome championship, a violent combat sport that takes place with guns in the hand and roller skates on the feet. So much for the script coating, which struggles to go beyond simple sports competition. However, the developers thought of including some playable narrative scenes, where you can observe a small number of objects, interact with two or three elements and glean some information by reading messages scattered here or there. The intention is commendable, but be warned that all of this remains extremely anecdotal and that you should not come to Rollerdrome for its lore. These scenes are rare, take place in closed and cramped places (dressing room, TV studio, train cabin, etc.), and it only takes a few tens of seconds to go around them. A vaguely political context emerges through the presence (never shown) of a revolutionary army opposed to the international Rollerdrome federation, but the game never capitalizes on these elements, which are somewhat distilled in the wind.


We regret it all the more since the retro-futuristic atmosphere inspired by the 70s is very successful. The choice of colors (a lot of orange, of course) and decorations unquestionably refer to this era, the music makes extensive use of analog synths, and the whole technological aspect (machines, equipment, etc.) evokes a parallel modernization to the one we have known. This aspect is reinforced by an artistic direction that could be called « à la Sable », in honor of the Shedworks game released last September. Here too, a sort of cel-shading effect is applied to the 3D graphics to give them a cartoon look. This choice is very wise because it brings clarity and visibility to the action. We perfectly identify the different types of enemies, and even the most distant are easily spotted. On the other hand, it is better not to be allergic to aliasing, the staircase effects being particularly visible, even by pushing the graphic options to the bottom. The studio has therefore favored efficiency and fluidity over pure beauty, which can be understood given the importance of the gameplay, which invokes two different video game genres.


rollerdromeThus, if a relatively classic jump and dodge are available, the movements borrow mainly from rollerblading and skateboarding games. Once the heroine is propelled, the bulk of the work is for the player to perform as many tricks as possible. Grabs, spins, flips, grinds, wallrides, acid drops and other air outs answer the call. The game has the good taste to detail these different elements, and some are relatively easy to get out, even to combine. On the other hand, catching all the high-placed combo tokens, and performing all the tricks requested with each new fight is immediately more complicated. These acrobatics naturally allow us to increase our final score but also, and this is the whole point of the game, to reload the ammunition of our weapons. Because in each arena, victory can only be achieved by eliminating all other participants. It is therefore necessary to think simultaneously of aiming, dodging and performing as many figures as possible. Suffice to say that we are not bored! The weapons available are four in number, all use the same ammunition, but have different magazines. Understand by this that performing a figure recharges all weapons simultaneously, but at a variable rate and up to a specific limit. You can count on twelve bullets for the double pistols, two shells for the grenade launcher, three shots for the Z-11 (a prototype energy weapon with two-stage loading), and six cartridges for the shotgun. The latter also makes it possible to carry out piercing shots when the reflex time is triggered. This slow action feature can be used at any time and for any weapon, but in the frame of the shotgun it also allows to multiply its power by shooting with the right timing (at the moment when the two vertical lines of the same cursor meet on the target). You will therefore often use this weapon, which is as effective against basic fighters as shield bearers, mechas or snipers.



rollerdromeThe game therefore succeeds in its main bet: mixing roller and shooter without ever having one side take too much precedence over the other. Whether you are more of a sliding game or a shooter, you will feel more or less at home, without ever being too bothered by the other component of the gameplay. To tell the truth, the first hours of play are even downright exciting. But over time, a certain lack of scope is felt. This is the only boss encountered, a spider robot used twice. Moreover, the championship consists of only eleven rounds in all (four for the preliminary phases, three for the quarter-finals, three for the semi-finals, and one for the final) which, once you master well the game, only take a few minutes each.


The lifespan is still around ten hours, because the developers have chosen to block access to the upper levels of the competition behind a « skill wall ». In other words, it is not enough to win a round to move on to the next one, you must also pass a certain number of challenges in order to unlock it. The pleasing gameplay then gives way to a sort of « farming » of tricks, where you constantly relaunch the same arenas to finally succeed in performing the Backbreaker Flip, Floor Sweeper Grind and other Stale Grab 720s requested. Players reluctant to become rollerblading pros can always go to the « assistance options », which would have been called cheat codes in another era. Then appear on the menu: invincibility, modification of the amount of damage suffered, infinite ammunition, infinite reflex time, simplified piercing shots and, above all, removal of the conditions for success of challenges. For our part, we filled out the main campaign fairly, but tested these superpowers in the « it’s gonna bleed » mode, which unlocks after the end credits. It allows you to participate in the championship of the year 2031, with a remixed soundtrack and enemy damage multiplied by 1.5. It stings a bit! Finally, note that despite the sporting and competitive theme of the game, no multiplayer mode is unfortunately present.

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