Roller Champions Review – Keep Rolling, Rolling, Rolling


Roller Champions is an intriguing mix of sports, building on the already compelling baseline of roller derby by adding elements of basketball and the Mesoamerican ball game, ulama. This unique blend is a lot of fun, so it’s a bit of a shame that it starts to smell as fast as it does.

In Roller Champions, players compete in teams of three, skating on a circular ice rink. The two teams fight for possession of a ball, then take as many consecutive laps as possible with it in hand, before throwing it into a hoop to score points. If your team completes a full trick before scoring, you earn a single point, while two or three tricks earn you three or five points respectively. If at any time the other team manages to get the ball away from you, it breaks the streak and you will have to fight for the ball back in order to break your opponent’s streak and start scoring again. The first team to reach five points (or have the most points after seven minutes) wins.

The first roller pass - Roller Champions' version of a battle pass - isn't that appealing.  There are some unique and entertaining offerings, but it's a largely lackluster first outing.
The first roller pass – Roller Champions’ version of a battle pass – isn’t that appealing. There are some unique and entertaining offerings, but it’s a largely lackluster first outing.

It’s a simple premise, made more appealing and complex with the variety of moves available to each player both in attack and defense, including multiple ways to tackle your opponents to the ground or pass the ball to a teammate. pending. Plus, there’s the physics of the game to master, which dictates how a ball can roll or bounce depending on where and how hard you throw it.

It might feel a little overwhelming at first, even with the obligatory Roller Champions tutorial, but like any real sport, the game gets easier with time and practice. There is a list of useful moves and a practice skate park to help you with this.

Roller Champions isn’t a chore to learn – roller skating is an absorbing backbone to the game, delivering a fantastic sense of speed to virtually any action. The movement-related mechanics are the most accessible of the lot, so grasping the nuances of pumping up hills to quickly reach your top speed and mastering how to work with your teammates to race around the rink quickly becomes second nature. With these basics at your fingertips, it’s much easier to tackle Roller Champions’ most complex maneuvers, ensuring that even the most difficult moves can be grasped in just a few hours of play.

It works in Roller Champions favor from the early hours, elevating all players to a basic understanding of how the sport works in a short amount of time and creating a tangible sense of improvement. But this rapid accumulation of knowledge largely works against the game after this initial progression, as the intriguing learning curve flattens almost as quickly as it appears, making it unsatisfying. My initial excitement playing the game and seeing the potential I could achieve – skillfully timing dodges to dance through the three defenders and land a clutch pass, for example, or managing to get the height needed to dive the ball in the hoop–quickly gave way to editing boredom when I reached that skill level and learned that I had already encountered the game’s short ceiling.

This problem is exasperated by the uniform content of Roller Champions. Casual Quick Matches and Competitive Ranked Matches are played on the same three maps, which may all be aesthetically different but are identical in shape. All players also control the same, as there are no separate positions for Roller Champions. So outside of the limited-time modes (which add considerations like making competitions 2v2 or limiting how long each player can hold the ball), Roller Champions matches all play out remarkably similarly – once you get a good feel for how the game works, you get the same experience over and over again.

Certainly, this uniformity ensures that the playing field is always level between teams and also creates the agency for players to choose how they wish to approach Roller Champions. For example, if you want to focus purely on defense – only tackle enemy players trying to steal the ball from your teammates or hold the hoop so you can jump and block all opposing shots – you absolutely can. A strategy that works on one arena will work on all three given their uniform design, and since all players control the same thing, you never have to adapt to new mechanics.

While it's wonderful that there are options to play a support or defense role, Roller Champions doesn't reward that style of play - all the fanfare is reserved for scoring points.
While it’s wonderful that there are options to play a support or defense role, Roller Champions doesn’t reward that style of play – all the fanfare is reserved for scoring points.

But the inconveniences it creates are far more overwhelming. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Roller Champions boring, but the feeling of sameness in every match means the game doesn’t encourage that “just one more” feeling that usually supports growing and maintaining the base of players behind similar matches. Games. It’s hard to want to play one more game after playing two or three games when games don’t change on a macro level (beyond the outcome, that is) and only feel slightly different on a level. microphone.

This aforementioned agency to play the way you want also has a downside: there’s no easy way to communicate with other players within Roller Champions. This makes it difficult to understand what your teammates are planning in the opening minutes of a game, and even harder to know when they’ve decided to change things up. Having no pre-determined role looks great on paper, but without communicating your intent to your allies, this format most often hinders your team’s teamwork, as it’s harder to play consistently as a well-orchestrated unit. Jumping on a mic solves that problem, of course, but I’ve found it to be a request that few coincidences wanted to attend to.

All of this is such a shame, because there is a fun team sport hidden in Roller Champions. For the first few hours, I had a great time with it – it’s just that the uniformity when it comes to its maps and mechanics makes every match start to feel a bit the same. I can see myself picking it up once in a while for an enjoyable fight around the rink, but there just isn’t enough meat in the bones of this live game to make it part of my daily rotation.

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