Last night’s State of Play presentation from Sony was actually pretty good. We got a July 19 release date for the adorable cat game Stray, Resident Evil 4 Remake turned out to be a real thing that’s coming next year, and Final Fantasy XVI showed off some sumptuous gameplay. There was some really solid stuff. But among all the high-profile sequels and expected remakes was one game I didn’t see coming: an extreme rollerblading game called Rollerdrome developed by OlliOlli World creator Roll7. And holy shit, this game looks freakin’ dope!
Rollerdrome is a third-person action shooter. That sounds run-of-the-mill, and it certainly can be at times, but Roll7 took this standard premise and added a cool twist: extreme rollerblading, replete with quarter pipes and metal railings (called coping) you can trick off of. So what you end up with is a fluid, momentum-based shooter that seems to mix elements from Jet Set Radio, My Friend Pedro, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater into one sleek-arse package.
That’s the key selling point for me: the amalgam of genres. Momentum shooters like Doom, while exhilarating, rely almost exclusively on their FPS underpinnings to carry the weight. Devolver Digital’s frenetic first-person game Boomerang X built on id Software’s foundation, implementing slowdown mechanics to get you thinking about enemy positioning in relation to your own, but still felt limited by its adherence to the FPS genre. I’ve not played Rollerdrome yet, so it’s too soon to say whether it delivers on its potential. However, just from the trailer alone, I get the sense that Roll7’s attempting to stretch the limits of the momentum shooter.
I mean, that cel-shaded, almost comic-book-esque art style. That thumping, ‘80s synth soundtrack. The variety of environments and weapons and enemies. And then all the tricks as the skater flips around and fills goons with bullets while collecting gold coins…or something. There’s even a Tricktionary to learn new moves if you want to get a higher score — or just look even cooler by pulling off flashier manoeuvres. The collision of all these elements looks and sounds complicated. It also seems like a blast, a game that’s probably both edge-of-your-seat exciting and break-your-controller maddening. I’m here for whatever outcome.
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait too long to find out. Rollerdrome hits PC, PS4, and PS5 on August 19. It’s also launching on “other consoles,” though not until at least February 16, 2023. Sorry about it, Nintendo and Xbox.