Ubisoft has just launched Roller Champions, a competitive and multiplayer game full of good will and good humor, with the aim of taping players to their screen for good slices of fun between friends. Except that he forgot something along the way: its content.
We turn in circles on the track and on the game
Yes, the intro spoils a bit, and you see me sorry, but that’s about all we can say about Roller Champions as long as the game is sorely lacking in contentnot to say that it is completely empty at the moment.
The app is presented as a multi-competitive game mixing basketball/handball and rollerblading. We thus find ourselves with 6 players (3 per team) placed in the middle of a circular track whose edges are raised of several tens of meters to allow us to slide on it, like what a Rocket League offers. The objective is simple, the first team to score 5 points wins the match, and to do this, it will be necessary to fight to keep possession of a ball which will be thrown randomly on the track at the start of the round. Once between the dominant team’s mimines, you will have to do one or more laps of the track to unlock the goal, which comes in the form of a ring taped to a wall several meters above the ground. The more laps the team with the ball will make while keeping it, the more the goal scored will have value (1, 3 or 5 points). And, if by misfortune, the opposing team manages to remove it from their hands, the counter is reset and the maneuver must be resumed from the beginning. It seems messy like that, but once on the track it’s crystal clear and we realize that in the end, it’s not very complicated.
A store more provided than the game, it’s cheeky
Roller Champions gameplay, unlike Rocket League, isn’t too convoluted. We have a button to bend your legs and gain speed, one to jump in the air, another to shoot, and others to tackle our opponents and make passes or even make a quick feint. The concern is thatthere really isn’t a possibility anything else, such as spinning the ball, cavorting in the air to score in style, or “dribbling”, nothing at all. We simply do laps around the track while gaining speed (the sensations are frankly not dizzying), and we tackle our opponents to recover the ball. At no time do you feel a peak of adrenaline for a good action, or moments of tension during the 7 minutes of the match.
Especially since the track is nothing but a totally smooth ring on which nothing happens, while we would have seen reliefs and/or downright mobile elements to give a little pep. Moreover, the circuits, we have seen only one and unique. Apparently, there would be three of them, but we weren’t lucky enough to come across them, even after several dozen games. So yes, we did see another track, but this one is in training mode. It’s a skatepark in which you can also meet up with friends to… uh… go around in circles while throwing balls at each other and test movements, at least, to realize that they’re missing a lot.
Mea Culpa. After playing several more hours (after writing his lines) I could actually see other tracks. You actually have to advance your in-game career to unlock the new circuits, but ultimately only the skin changes, the tracks unfortunately bring absolutely nothing new and the rating will not be altered.
For a game that relies on fun, it’s anything but fun
It could have been really fun
And the disappointment is all the greater as everything is done to provide excessive fun. On paper anyway. We have the right to a commentator, in French, completely possessed by his role who howls and makes jokes that are sometimes frankly effective, the artistic direction is cartoony and colorful and the music, under license, gives electro, pop and sets the mood. Except that the gameplay does not follow and that the circuits have neither spectators (although they fill up as you become popular in-game), nor even music during the matches (there we do not know , maybe a bug?). We wonder what we’re doing here.
So we go through the first mandatory parts before getting to the heart of the matter: the classified mode. But there, we become disillusioned quickly since, ultimately, it’s the same thing but… with a classification.
On the other hand, what is already particularly developed in Roller Champions is its shop. Because yes, our avatar, we create it from scratch with an extremely limited choice of possibilities. We find ourselves with a dozen faces, a handful of corpulences and basta. We don’t even have the right to a haircut! Nope, if you want to customize your champions, you will have to go to checkout and throw yourself in the shop where there is a whole lot of stuff to put on your face, rollerblades, t-shirts and all the rest. A battle pass is also included with a paid premium version and a somewhat rickety free portion. So yes, you can earn free lootboxes and in-game currency as you play, but it’s so time consuming that it will take you hours to get your hands on visually decent gear.
And then, from you to me, I’m a big proponent of cosmetic microtransactions which I think is the right compromise for studios and gamers, but there we still reach the limit of the tolerance thresholdsince the average player who will not put his hand in the wallet will have to type a generic avatar as possible, dressed like a bag. And, for a game that’s all about fun, it’s anything but fun.