Roof Rage puts Smash, Samurai Gunn and martial arts movies in a blender

Roof Rage

Any kind of competitive multiplayer game walks the narrowest of tightropes. Maintaining balance, pace and visual readability is a challenge few smaller studios can pull off, but I reckon Roof Rage from indie outfit Early Melon might be in with a chance, with a blend of familiar elements served up with its own distinct style. It’s due out this June, and there’s a debut trailer full of brutal pixel charm within.

You’ve got the knockabout kinetic combat of Smash Bros, the lethal intensity of Samurai Gunn and a zoomed-out playfield allowing for up to 8 players at once. It’s an interesting feature-set, and it does seem to have its own distinct pacing going on, largely in part due to the large environments and distant camera. Those little pixel warriors have mechanical importance, rather than just being a stylistic decision.

Early Melon are working hard on trying to implement the single most demanded feature for a game of this sort: Online multiplayer. According to their early access roadmap, online play will initially be for 1v1 play only (a significantly simpler thing to manage), with the studio aiming to expand that to 4-player online matches in time. The full-fat 8-way brawl mode will likely remain the domain of local multiplayer only. Have fun cramming 8 nerds in front of one TV, although if you do fall short, you can pad the numbers out with bots.

It’s quite mechanically distinct, at least from the little bit I’ve gotten to play of a pre-release build. Character health seems to affect both how much hits knock you back, but also draining it completely counts as a kill, preventing it from ever hitting Smash Bros’ ridiculous late-game phase, with characters pinballing off the walls. There’s a surprisingly lengthy move-list for each character, although in larger brawls you’ll be worrying less about special attacks and more about where you can manoeuvre yourself to get in a finishing blow or avoid retribution.

The initial early access debut will be happening on June 8th, only a couple weeks away, with Early Melon (presumably evolving into Ripe Melon by launch) estimating that it’ll be six months until the final release of the game, which they intend to have more stages, characters, and hopefully some kind of single-player story mode. The first early access release does have bots to play against, at least – essential for any fighting game trying to get off the ground.

Roof Rage will be out via early access on June 8th. You can wishlist it on Steam here.

7 Comments

  1. April March says:

    Uuuuuugh. I was all DO WANT until I saw the combo list at the end. When will people learn to copy Super Smash Bros and let combos come naturally from inputs? Brawlhalla did that and it’s super fun, despite being basically a remake of SSB made by Stop Having Fun Guys.

  2. Baines says:

    From watching a gameplay video, it looks like the game does have the same degree of knock back as Smash Bros. You just don’t bounce off of stuff the way that you do in Smash.

    And even that might be incorrect. Some of it comes down to stage design, as it just doesn’t look like you get knocked into stuff as much as you do in Smash. A lot comes down to the health bar. If you play Smash in Stamina Mode, you’ll also die before you reach the absurd pinball level.

    Of course (eventually) reaching absurd pinball levels was a necessity for Smash’s design, since the only means of death in the normal gameplay mode is a ring out. That isn’t a necessity when you have a regular life bar.

    • Early_Melon says:

      Yes, part of the design to go with health bars comes from the fact that increasing knockback doesn’t necessarily means an easy or quick kill, especially if the stages are complex like having walls and corners, like we do have.
      So I tried to have both and it just fixed all the issues. You still have that increasing knockback but the game has another aspect when a health get close to zero.
      Still most of the kill will come from knocking people off stage but it fixes some design issues that we had.

  3. Kollega says:

    I’ve got a question that may be unexpected; can someone here possibly tell which Asian country or countries the game’s stages take place in, judging by this trailer? I see different kinds of hieroglyph writing – and I am not nearly knowledgeable enough to distinguish Chinese, Japanese, and Korean writing systems in such short glimpses. But some signs that are shown in the game are just different enough from what I remember about Japanese writing that I feel the game may be set all over East Asia, not just in Japan.

    • Early_Melon says:

      Good question !
      I’m the developer of the game, so to answer you, there are stages taking place in South Korea, Seoul with Korean characters.
      Japan has 2 stages, Izakaya and the Dojo.
      Dragon Market is in China, although it doesn’t have any signs.
      City Peak is also in a futuristic China/Hong Kong, and has some Chinese ads.
      There are also stages without any characters such as the Vietnamese stage, Halong Bay and Myanmar.
      The Rooftops are inspired by Asian culture obviously and so is the theme of the game, a martial art Platform fighter on roofs.

      • Kollega says:

        Okay, that’s interesting to know. I guess I was astute enough to notice that the setting wasn’t one East Asian country, but many, judging by the different architecture and writing systems. I have an eye for small details like that, and it looks like that let me notice it’s not “just China” or “just Japan”! And the two-towers stage seen at the end of the trailer looks like Myanmar or Vietnam just by its architecture.

        I think it’s a pretty big success for your game that it’s possible to tell right off the bat (and without looking into the menu text) that the locations are not in any one specific country, or “generic East Asia”, but that they rather belong to different places and cultures.

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