‘Rollerdrome’ preview: Twitchy dystopian bloodsport is my new favorite genre

rollerdrom is essentially the video game version of rollerball, the fabulous 1975 science fiction film starring James Caan. in the rollerball, monolithic corporations control society and the weakest citizens are forced to compete in deadly roller skating competitions in the name of entertainment and classicism. (Yes, dystopian fiction existed long before that The hunger Games.) A slow burn of brutality, strange human rituals and shirts with huge collars, the film is a brilliant time capsule whose themes remain relevant to this day.

rollerdrom builds a similarly rich, unsettling world through set pieces, costumes, and audio cues, while pulling a 1970s aesthetic firmly into the 21st century. Set in the year 2030, in a world controlled by giant corporations – the Matterhorn Corporation is at the center of a new blood sport called Rollerdrome, in which contestants are challenged to shoot their way through enemies while performing ludicrous roller skating tricks . rollerdrom comes from Roll7, the studio behind the skateboard series OlliOlli – it only has four more wheels and a lot more weapons than those games.

I played a preview of rollerdrom on Steam with a recommended controller. The entire game features striking comic-book style graphics, with the main character wearing red overalls and a striped white helmet, skates on his feet and a handful of firearms at his disposal. It’s a third-person single-player shooter with environments ranging from abandoned malls to desert canyons, each lined with ramps, walls, gaps, and breakable windows, offering plenty of opportunities for tricks.



Tricks are essential rollerdrom, and not just because they look and feel super cool. Completing tricks replenishes ammo, so it’s important to keep trains going. The game supports the classics like ollies, grinds, flips and grabs, so you can spin in all directions mid-air to change things up. Roll7’s experience of fast-paced action really comes into its own here – it’s fun enough just skating down the ramps, building up speed and trying new tricks, but that’s just one aspect of the gameplay.

As you scroll and flip through the maps, you must dodge incoming enemy shots, manage your health and ammo, and assassinate every character you see. Killing enemies drops health gems, there’s a lock-on option for all firearms, and you can slow down time in bursts. All these factors combine to turn each level into an action movie with a hand-drawn 70’s filter: the main character turns in slow motion high above the battlefield, shoots down a sniper before landing again in real time, dodging missiles and rolling at full speed into another jump. Dramatic scenes like this play out over and over again as the time slow ability quickly replenishes and performing tricks quickly becomes second nature in the name of collecting ammo.



Enemies have an array of weapons including sniper rifles, bats, handguns, and rockets, while the main character is given firearms like two-handed pistols, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher. Maps have tokens floating around that indicate trick challenges, but otherwise every environment is an open, dangerous playground. Skiing down platforms and mountainsides is possible, which incurs a time penalty but does not stop the lap. For the world completers, each level has specific time and skill-based challenges, each of which increases your total score at the end.

Once you start moving in Rollerdrome, no need to constantly push forward to accelerate, freeing up the mechanics of turning, dropping, flipping, and shooting. Dodging is one of the coolest parts of the game, especially when multiple enemies are targeting you – incoming fire is indicated by a blue line that turns white when the shot goes off, and perfectly timing a dodge results in a satisfying sound effect and opportunity for a temporary damage boost. It’s a thrill evade, evade, evade and then jump in the air, slowing down time and taking out the people shooting at you, refilling ammo while gathering health. And all the while, an original synth-forward soundtrack keeps the energy pumping. ‘Rollerdrome’ preview: Twitchy dystopian bloodsport is my new favorite genre

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