The world of sports video games is something extraordinary. Of course, we can get excited about a new and hyper-realistic racing or soccer simulator. But nothing beats the possibility of inventing new sports, which could never exist in real life. If Rocket League has taught us anything, it is that these worlds can work perfectly. So he tried too Ubisoftwhich he finally released Roller Champions, a cocktail of football, basketball and speed, all on skates. The title is free, a free-to-play playable on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 4 and Playstation 5. Lace up your skates, this is our Roller Champions review.
Released for free on 25 maggio 2022, the game comes with an innovative format. The rules are simple: two teams of three players will have to compete for possession of a ball in an oval skating rink. The team that completes a full circle with the ball will unlock a ring in which to throw the ball to score a point. If the team decides not to attempt the goal and manages to make a second round without losing possession, the goal will be worth 3. On the third round completed with possession of the ball, the goal will be worth 5, giving immediate victory to the team, since every match is best of 5 points. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Yes, because there are no fouls: it will be necessary to avoid violent opponent tackles, both with and without the ball, and to get out of the way to receive passes from their teammates. Finally, in speed, you will need to direct the ball into the goal circle (which is actually relatively simple).
What is Roller Champions about? Our review
As mentioned Roller Champions is totally free, and at launch it weighs in just over 4 Gigabytes. Being free-to-play it includes the ability to purchase a pass to payment (called the Roller Pass), which essentially contains cosmetic items. As with other similar games, some levels of the Pass will be unlockable for free as you level up. To do this you will need to play and improve, obtaining Fan, which act as both experience points and spectators at matches. This dynamic is very fascinating, given that in each match there will be the sum of the fans of each of the 6 players involved in the match. This means that by progressing in level it will be possible to unlock new arenas, more capacious and particular, with more crowds and fans.
By completing the side missions (called Sponsors) you can get special rewards, such as cosmetics, fans and the precious ones Lootball. These are basically loot boxes… but they are ball shaped… so Lootball. All unlockables are purely aesthetic, which means that there are no upgrades. This factor, coupled with the lack of special skills of individual players, makes the game particularly balanced: only your skills on the track will count! In fact, in Roller Champions there are no different characters: each character you create, from the point of view of skill, will be the same as that of the other players. No power ups, no stats to improve, just aesthetic customization.
The strong point is all in the gameplay
For this review we tried Roller Champions on Xbox One, and from a gameplay point of view it felt great. The commands are simple, but not trivial. It will be possible to tackle the opponents vehemently (which gives a certain satisfaction) and even jump to “stop” the opponent’s shots in a basketball style. Through a special button emit a whistle, signaling to a teammate that we are free to let us pass the ball. If you don’t find yourself on the team with selfish Maradona against England in 1986, a little hand on the screen will indicate that the move is coming. You can also use the slingshot effect, queuing up with a teammate and making you catapult you on the track at triple speed. Other players’ slipstream will also help you gain speed, and the game’s physics allow you to crouch on downhill ramps to go faster.
Although the action is very frenetic and, in fact, in speed, a colored marker will always show you where the ball is, and which team is currently in possession of it.
In general the game mechanics are all masterfully renderedand playing Roller Champions is really fun. The matches last a few minutes, and are absolutely unpredictable: even if at a disadvantage, a perfect play is enough to overturn the result and take home the victory. The fact that there are no fouls makes the game hectic, without pauses. The only interruption will be in the event of a goal.
Our advice to maximize the fun is to play Roller Champions with friends, communicating via headset, to avoid cursing teammates who will not pass the ball or who will spend the entire game getting the ball stolen. Even alone, however, with casual matchmaking based on your own level, you can have fun, thanks also to the simplicity of the pass / request ball mechanics.
What if the waiting for the game is the game itself? The grueling matchmaking times
Free, fun, innovative and fast-paced. It would seem that Roller Champions is the perfect game. Unfortunately, however, it is not. The main problems are matchmakingwhich although he is very balanced in taking into account his level of skill, he is also extremely long. Very long. Too long. In trying the game we even got to wait 10 minutes. Not to mention when, after waiting for more than 5 minutes, matchmaking crashes forcing us to restart the game. Taking into account that the matches are short-lived, these waiting times are absolutely unacceptable. However, not even a week has passed since launch, the servers are probably clogged. In short, we want to give Ubisoft, which in any case is not new to problems of this type (let’s Hello Hello with our hands and feet at Rainbow Six: Extraction), the benefit of the doubt.
Another noteworthy deficiency is evident in the characterization of the characters. These are decidedly anonymous, and at times even unpleasant to see. One might think that this might be a way to entice the purchase of the cosmetic items, but the reality is that aEven the paid skins are not at all attractive. A serious shortcoming for a free game that aims to make money from micro-transactions on cosmetics.
Our Roller Champions review: let’s sum it up
Summing up our review, we can only approve Roller Champions, albeit with the hope that Ubisoft is preparing to solve some critical issues. The game is in fact innovative and fun, with games that last the right amount, making you want to replay. The problem, however, is that in starting another game you will find yourself waiting for the matchmaking to be completed, and at that point the temptation to mount skates to the console and send it to crash into the first wall is strong.
Once the wait is over, however, there is a lot of fun. Scoring points is satisfying, tackling too, and sprinting at full speed around the arena gives a certain boost. In the same way, being tackled and missing a shot will be frustrating, but with that positive frustration that generates competitiveness in the game. And in these games, competitiveness is everything. The fan / stadium system will lead players to want to improve, gradually facing stronger players, to unlock all the arenas available, and play in front of boundless crowds in raptures. Finally, the game offers a private arena, where you can practice alone or with friends.
The Roller Champions training arena
In short, it is almost a shame that Roller Champions is a sport that exists only in the videogame universe. In real life it would have its own why. Could this be the launch of a new and thrilling competition eSport competition? To the skaters the arduous sentence.
- Fun matches
- Great game mechanics
- Concept interesting
- Competitive matches
- Simple and intuitive rules
- Lunghi tempi in matchmaking
- Art concept povero
- Lack of palatable cosmetic elements